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Monday, October 29, 2007

Andy Murray Wins St. Petersburg Open     Send a link to a friend

[October 29, 2007]  ST. PETERSBURG, Russia (AP) -- Second-seeded Andy Murray won his third career title Sunday, beating sixth-seeded Fernando Verdasco 6-2, 6-3 in the final of the St. Petersburg Open.

Earlier this season, Murray defended his title in San Jose and was runner-up at Doha and Metz.

With the victory, the 20-year-old Briton has improved to 41-13 this season and boosted his chances of qualifying for the season-ending Tennis Masters Cup in Shanghai, starting Nov. 11.

Murray broke Verdasco in the third game of the first set. Leading 3-2, he won five consecutive games to go 2-0 up in the second set.

The 16th-ranked Murray saved a break point in the fourth game and had three break points on Verdasco's serve in the next game but failed to convert. He closed out the match on his first match point.

"It was a pretty comfortable match," Murray said. "I had a lot of chances on his serve and he had only one or two chances -- one love-30 game and a game where he had a break point. The pressure on him was on his serve."

Verdasco said that poor lighting in the beginning of the match -- due to the lamps heating up after the doubles final award ceremony -- had affected his game.

"It was a bad day for me," Verdasco said. "I lost my confidence in the first games of the match and could not come back and play like I was playing the whole week."

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The 30th-ranked Verdasco had not dropped a set on the way to his first final this season.

Murray broke into the top 10 earlier in the season and was at a career-high No. 8 for two weeks in June before injuring his wrist to be sidelined for three months.

He is 11th in the Champions Race with 326 points, three behind No. 8 Tommy Haas, who is followed by Tommy Robredo (328 points) and James Blake (327).

"I think a lot of guys have a chance of making Shanghai," Murray said. "I've missed three and a half months of the year and wasn't expecting to have a chance of qualifying. So, I'm just going to go out and try to play the way I did this week."

Fernando Gonzalez has 380 points to be seventh. Four more players are still in contention -- Tomas Berdych (322), Richard Gasquet (321), Carlos Moya (316) and Ivan Ljubicic (315).

Six players have already qualified for the event. The two spots left will be decided at the Paris Masters.

[The Associated Press]

Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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