Murray, Tsonga, Raonic, Zheng Add Week 1 Tennis Titles
Murray Mauls Gimpy Dolgopolov for ATP Brisbane Crown
New coach Ivan Lendl looked on approvingly as Andy Murray rolled over Alexandr Dolgopolov 6-1, 6-3 to win his 22nd career title at the Brisbane International in Australia.
“I served pretty well again,” Murray said. “It got close in the second set and I stayed focused. He was just going for his shots, hit quite a few winners but I didn’t let it get to me. It’s good because I could easily have lost second round against [Gilles] Muller but I managed to fight my way through and played three very good matches.”
The 24-year-old Murray established his dominance early, not giving a point away in his first three service games, improving to 3-0 career against Dolgopolov who was treated for a leg injury in his semifinal match.
“I couldn’t move much on my right leg,” Dolgopolov said. “It was tough to go right and push from it. I just tried to do my best and still stay on the court because the stadium was full and you don’t want to pull out of something like that.”
Murray improved to a staunch 22-9 in career finals, a positive outlook for the Brit who will attempt to reach the Australian Open final for a third consecutive year in search of a first career Grand Slam title.
Tsonga Tops Monfils in All-French Final at ATP Doha
Former No. 1s Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal began the event as favorites, but in the end it was an all-French show at the Qatar Open, where Jo-Wilfried Tsonga defeated compatriot Gael Monfils 7-5, 6-3 in the Saturday final.
“It was difficult. The surface was very slippery especially on the ‘Qatar’ sign painted on the court,” Tsonga said of the misty conditions. “It was dangerous but they did enough to make it okay. This is a good win for me going into the Australian Open, it’s just amazing.”
In the semifinals Tsonga benefited from a retirement (back) by Federer, and Monfils upset Nadal in straight sets.
“At the beginning of the match, it was a bit difficult because he broke me very early. It was tough. But in my head, everything was right,” said the 26-year-old Tsonga who won his eighth career title. “I said, ‘Okay, I’m one break down, but I will continue to play my game. I will make him run a lot.’ So I hit a lot of shots to make him run. I think it was the good solution because then, after that, he was maybe a bit tired. After that, I was better than him. That’s why I maybe won today.”
Monfils led 5-3 in the first set in the match that was suspended roughly a half hour due to fog.
“I think I had some opportunities in the first set, and I was maybe a bit less aggressive tonight to finish this first set,” Monfils said. “And then I think he played better and better.”
Tsonga improved to 8-5 in finals, and Monfils slipped to 4-12.
Canuck Raonic Serves-up 2nd Career Title at Chennai
Canadian Milos Raonic won his second career title on Sunday at the Aircel Chennai Open, defeating top-seeded Janko Tipsarevic 6-7(4), 7-6(4), 7-6(4).
Raonic lost only four points on serve in the first set, but still found himself a set down after losing the tiebreak. The second set was much of the same, except this time Raonic took an early lead in the breaker to level the match at one set apiece.
In the third set the Canadian saved two break points in his first service game, then in the tiebreak raced out to a 5-0 lead before closing the deal for a second career win.
The 21-year-old delivered 35 aces during the contest, and saved all 14 break points he faced during the week.
Zheng Titles When Pennetta Retires in WTA Auckland Final
Injuries that have hit the WTA Tour hard during the first week of play also worked their way into a final on Sunday in Auckland, New Zealand when unseeded Zheng Jie of China captured the title at the ASB Classic when No. 4-seeded opponent Flavia Pennetta retired in the third set with a back injury 2-6, 6-3, 2-0 ret.
“I don’t know what it is yet,” Pennetta said. “I’m going to have an MRI done tomorrow, I think. At 4-2 in the first set was when I first felt it. I started to go down with my leg to be ready for the return and pain started coming out. When I was serving it was really painful. She started making some mistakes, which happens when you see your opponent injured, but it was not good for me to keep going on the court.”
Pennetta and partner Julia Goerges had also lost in the doubles final the previous day in a third-set match tiebreak.
Zheng improved to 4-2 career in WTA finals, while Pennetta fell to 9-12. En route to the final Zheng upended No. 8 seed Monica Niculescu, No. 3 Svetlana Kuznetsova and the No. 4 Pennetta.
“It has been more than five years since my last title,” Zheng said. “I had two big injuries — my wrist and my ankle — but now I’m back. But I’m sorry for Flavia. I wish for her that it gets better for next week.”
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