Andrey Rublev emerged victorious against Andy Murray to secure the maiden World Tennis Championship.© AFP
The world number five Andrey Rublev emerged victorious against Andy Murray to secure the maiden World Tennis Championship exhibition tournament title in Abu Dhabi on Saturday. Rublev defeated former world number 1 Murray by 6-4, 7-6 at the International Tennis Centre in Zayed Sport City. Rublev broke Murray in game nine and held serve to win the first set 6-4. In the first game of the second set, Murray put a backhand into the net at 30-40 on his own serve, giving Rublev the perfect start to set two. The Russian ace went on the attack in his next service game, winning 40-15 take a 2-0 lead.
Two-time champion Murray, who has looked sharped on his comeback in Abu Dhabi, mounted his own offensive and broke back before taking a 5-4 lead and went searching for the break to level the match. But Rublev dug in, to square the second set at 5-5.
The pair then traded service games taking the set to a tie-break, Rublev roared to a 4-0 lead and, despite the best efforts of his opponent he held firm to take it 7-2 – sealing a 6-4, 7-6 victory and collecting a first MWTC title in his third appearance.
“It’s my third time here and I always love coming. You get quality matches against top players. It’s great to have these types of matches ahead of the new season, that’s why we are here; it’s great preparation,” the Russian said after the match.
“It’s a huge pleasure to share a court with Andy. He is a special player; a true legend and it was a great match. I think the spectators enjoyed it and that is what we are playing tennis for,” he added.
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