Andy Murray storms to Brisbane crown
Andy Murray discovered the winning habit ahead of the Australian Open by beating Alexandr Dolgopolov in straight sets to claim the Brisbane International trophy.
In front of new coach Ivan Lendl, Murray looked somewhere near his best as he sauntered to a 6-1 6-3 triumph. The Scot had his struggles earlier in the tournament having been out of action since the ATP World Tour Finals in November, but gradually improved throughout, culminating in a resounding final triumph.
It should be noted that Dolgopolov was suffering with a groin injury, particularly late in the first set - although there have been plenty of times in the past where Murray has failed to close out ruthlessly when the momentum was behind him, and this time he did not slip into that trap.
The players traded the first two games, but after that there was a chasm between them in terms of quality. Murray reeled off nine straight games to go 4-0 up in the second frame against the world No. 15 - and, although Dolgopolov clawed it back to 4-3, there was never the sense Murray was going to implode. Quite the opposite; he went through the gears to win in style.
"I served pretty well again," said Murray. "It got close in the second set and I stayed focused. He was just going for his shots [and] hit quite a few winners but I didn't let it get to me. It's good because I could easily have lost in the second round against [Gilles] Muller but I managed to fight my way through and played three very good matches. I felt like I was moving well right at the end of the week."
Dolgopolov said: "I couldn't move much on my right leg. It was tough to go right and push from it. I just tried to do my best and still stay on the court because the stadium was full and you don't want to pull out of something like that."
Murray will be hoping the victory gives him the belief to triumph at the Australian Open, which begins on January 16.