Top players tumbled out of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships left and right this week, but world No. 1 Andy Murray was not among the casualties. Murray, who saved seven match points in his quarterfinal victory over Philipp Kohlschreiber, captured the title on Saturday by beating Fernando Verdasco 6-3, 6-2.
The top-seeded Scot lost his first two service games of the match but a dropped a mere one point on serve in the entire second set.
“It’s nice to win and I played much better as the match went on,” Murray reflected. “I started a little bit slow, but I was solid. I wasn’t afraid to attack his forehand side. He’s got one of the best forehands, but I tried to move him around the court as much as I could. I defended pretty well and moved well. I served a lot better as the match went on. It was obviously good to win the first tournament here.”
“I think that obviously I had…if not the toughest opponent I can have in the final, then one of them for sure,” Verdasco assessed. “He’s No. 1 in the world right now. It was obviously a really difficult final to win, but I came trying everything and giving everything. I said yesterday that being in the final of a 500 after five years is a great week for me and I have to take the positive things.”
At the Abierto Mexicano Telcel, meanwhile, Sam Querrey put an exclamation point on an incredible week with a 6-3, 7-6(3) upset of Rafael Nadal in Saturday night’s title match. Querrey bludgeoned 19 aces to Nadal’s one on the way to securing the winner’s trophy after one hour and 34 minutes.
The 6’6” American’s run also featured wins over David Goffin, Dominic Thiem, and Nick Kyrgios.
“It’s definitely a tournament that I’m going to remember for the rest of my life,” Querrey assured. “It’s just one of those weeks where I got in the zone and everything was working for me. I hope I can have more like this.”
He had one last summer at Wimbledon, where his quarterfinal finish included a stunning third-round victory over Novak Djokovic. This time Nadal was the heavily-favored victim. The sixth-ranked Spaniard failed to convert on any of six break-point opportunities in the final.
“He played very well–almost reaching perfection,” Nadal said of Querrey. “I played under a lot of pressure because of his serve and baseline game. He left me with very few options, and the few I had he also played good. I have to congratulate him. I’m also very happy with my week and my game.”
“After the match against Goffin, I knew I could go far here if I continued to play at that level,” Querrey explained. “My forehand and backhand were great and my serve bailed me out of trouble when I needed it. I felt like I had a lot of support throughout the week and everyone has been so kind. It’s been a pleasure to play here.”