Murray demolishes Youzhny to win Valencia
Andy Murray has won his seventh title of the season and 14th of his career with a comfortable straight sets victory over Russia’s Mikhail Youzhny at the Valencia Open.
The world number four took just over an hour to demolish Youzhny 6-3, 6-2 on his return to the tour following a six-week absence due to a wrist injury.
Victory never looked in doubt for Murray as he wore down his opponent in trademark fashion, using the multiple weapons in his arsenal to mix up the pace and direction of the ball.
A frustrated Youzhny struggled to find any rhythm and a string of errors allowed Murray to make the first breakthrough in the fourth game of the opening set.
Facing a further break point in the sixth game, the Russian drifted another backhand long giving the Brit the chance to serve for the second set.
But Murray seemed to suffer a lapse in concentration at 5-1 and handed back one of the breaks to Youzhny with a shanked forehand. He made no mistake second time around, however, serving an ace to take the set.
The British number one quickly set about wrapping up the victory in the second set, breaking Youzhny in the opening game.
A drive backhand winner set up further break points in the third game and Murray raced away to a 4-0 lead. He was coasting at this point and began to entertain the crowd with his athleticism and shot-making, hitting winners off both wings.
Youzhny managed to save face after looking like he might succumb to a second set bagel, serving well to hold on to two games. He even gave Murray a taste of his own medicine with an exquisite lob volley, but it was not enough to start a comeback.
Murray kept his concentration firmly intact when it came to serving for the match, firing down an ace to become the first champion under the Valencia Open’s new cathedral-like Agora arena.
“I expected a difficult match as he has been playing well recently but I served well and played smart and I’m happy to have won in two sets,” the Brit said in a television interview.
“My body is hurting but the whole week was great as I haven’t played in a long time,” he added.
Next up for Murray is the Paris Masters, where he will face American James Blake, who beat Frenchman Fabrice Santoro in the opening round today. Murray has a bye through to the second round of the final ATP 1000 event of the year.