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CHINA OPEN TENNIS REVIEW: Murray claims title with win over Dimitrov, as Konta breaks into Top 10

Andy Murray has won the China Open title in Beijing as the Brit saw off Grigor Dimitrov 6-4 7-6. Murray controlled the majority of the contest and even though he conceded his serve as he attempted to close out the match at 5-4 in the second set, the world number two recovered and wrapped up the win in the eventual tie-break to seal his fifth singles title of the year.

The Brit’s route to the final began with routine wins over Andreas Seppi in the first round and Andrey Kuznetsov in the second round. However, in the quarter-finals, Murray was pushed by his countryman Kyle Edmund, surviving a tense first set tie-break before prevailing in straight sets. In the semi-finals though, Murray was at his best as he eased past David Ferrer 6-2 6-3 to set up a meeting with Dimitrov in the final, who had advanced when Milos Raonic pulled out of their respective semi-final clash with an injury.

In the opening set of the final, Murray made a quick start and a costly double fault from Dimitrov in the first game of the match handed the world number two the early break, which he easily consolidated to lead 2-0. The Brit’s unstoppable combination of consistency and incredible defensive abilities appeared to be too much for Dimitrov as Murray threatened to break again, but the Bulgarian was beginning to improve his level and did enough to reduce the deficit to 2-1. At 3-2 up, Murray was forced to save a break point before opening up a 4-2 advantage and then pushed to gain the double break in the following game, but Dimitrov survived to cling onto his serve. However, despite the Bulgarian’s resistance, one break was enough for Murray as he eventually closed out the set to take the lead in the contest.

As the second set unfolded, at 1-1 Murray held break points to gain the early lead but Dimitrov’s attacking intent paid off as he saved them before moving 2-1 ahead. However, the Brit’s relentless pressure was eventually too much for his opponent and at 2-2, Murray seized the crucial break when Dimitrov fired a forehand just wide. The world number two held his next service game to establish a 4-2 lead, but the Bulgarian did well to continue reducing the deficit and forced his opponent to serve for the match. As Murray served for the title at 5-4, the match took a dramatic turn as the Bulgarian remarkably set up break points after outlasting his opponent in a series of extended baseline rallies and Dimitrov sealed the break when Murray blazed a forehand well wide. With the momentum now turning in his favour, the Bulgarian took advantage of more inexplicable errors from the world number two to move 6-5 ahead, but Murray steadied himself to force a tie-break. In the tie-break, the world number two was overall too solid and too strong for his opponent as he eventually took control and Murray went on to secure the victory when Dimitrov placed a forehand wide.

With this victory in Beijing, Murray has captured his 40th title of his career and fifth tournament victory of this season, having won the Italian Open, Queens and Wimbledon titles as well as defending his Olympic gold medal in Rio. In addition, with Djokovic having missed the China Open event due to injury, Murray has made some crucial ground on the Serbian world number one as the Brit remains in pursuit of eventually becoming the men’s top ranked player in the world.

On the women’s side, Johanna Konta progressed with victories over Sevastova, Babos, Pliskova and Zhang in her respective singles matches before securing a place in the top 10 with a monumental three set win in the semi-final against Madison Keys. However, despite a battling display in the final, the Brit found Agnieszka Radwanska too strong as it was the world number three from Poland who clinched the title with a 6-4 6-2 victory.

Also, in the other Asian tournament held in Tokyo, Nick Kyrgios claimed the Rakuten Japan Open title with a 4-6 6-3 7-5 victory over David Goffin.

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