Mon, Jan 07, 2008 - Page 18 News List

Murray beats Wawrinka to win Qatar Open

DESERT DELIGHT The Scot won his first hard-court title by downing his 36th-ranked Swiss opponent, going one better than last year when he lost in the final

AP AND AFP , DOHA

Third-seeded Andy Murray beat Stanislas Wawrinka 6-4, 4-6, 6-2 on Saturday in the final of the Qatar Open for his fourth ATP tour title.

Murray was playing in his first tournament since he split with coach Brad Gilbert in November.

"I worked really hard in the off-season, on my fitness and on my tennis," the 11th-ranked Briton said. "It's the hardest I've ever worked in my life so I'm happy it paid off this week."

It was the Scotsman's first hard-court title and also his first victory against the unseeded Swiss.

"[Murray] improved a lot last year, and I think he's going to be much better," the 36th-ranked Wawrinka said. "It's very difficult to play against him, to come to the net or to stay back."

Murray, who lost in the final last year to Croatia's Ivan Ljubicic, broke Wawrinka in the opening game of the first set and again in the third and seventh games. After unforced errors, Murray lost his serve in the second and sixth games.

Wawrinka leveled the match after Murray dropped serve in the 10th game of the second set.

The Scot dominated the deciding set, breaking Wawrinka in the first and seventh games and clinching the title after his opponent's backhand went wide.

Murray hopes his efforts will guarantee him a place in the top 12 seedings at the Australian Open.

"It was important for me to make the final here so I get seeded in the top 12 because if you're ranked between 13 and 16, you get drawn to play the top four seeds in the fourth round of the Australian Open," the Scot said.

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