Solid week sees Andy Murray clinch his first China Open title

Andy Murray celebrates after winning a point against Grigor Dimitrov during the men's final of the China Open. Picture: AP/Andy Wong
Andy Murray celebrates after winning a point against Grigor Dimitrov during the men's final of the China Open. Picture: AP/Andy Wong
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ANDY MURRAY was happy with his consistency after winning his maiden China Open title against Grigor Dimitrov in Beijing.

It was the 29-year-old’s fifth tournament victory of the year, which includes Wimbledon and a gold medal at the Olympic Games in Rio.

Andy Murray poses with his trophy after defeating Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria in the men's singles final of the China Open in Beijing. Picture: AP/Ng Han Guan

Andy Murray poses with his trophy after defeating Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria in the men's singles final of the China Open in Beijing. Picture: AP/Ng Han Guan

After beating his opponent 6-4 7-6 (7/2), the world No 2 said: “It’s been the most consistent year of my career, getting to the latter stages of most of the events I have played.

“It was a great week for me. Today’s match was a very high-level match. Grigor fought right to the end and made it extremely tough to finish it in two sets.

“It’s been an excellent week and I’m very happy with the way that I have played the last couple of matches. I will look forward to Shanghai now.”

The British No 1 did not drop a set throughout the tournament, including a quarter-final win over Beverley’s Kyle Edmund, and secured the win after Dimitrov hit a forehand long.

Murray continues his quest to top the world rankings following his fifth title of 2016 as he closes the gap on current world No 1 Novak Djokovic.

He got off to the best possible start by breaking the Bulgarian’s serve in the opening game of the match before holding his own to double his advantage at the beginning of the first set.

In game seven, the Scot had two chances to gain another break and though Dimitrov held on to close the gap to 4-3, Murray closed the set out 6-4 despite landing only 29 per cent of his first serves.

That gradually improved in the second set to a final figure of 49 per cent, Murray winning 73 per cent of those points.

He was aided by unforced errors by his opponent before he turned the screw with the first break in the second set to go 3-2 up after Dimitrov dragged a forehand wide.

Dimitrov continued to struggle with the Murray serve and added to his downfall with more unforced errors as the 29-year-old had the opportunity to serve for the championship.

But Dimitrov made a timely first break of the match to tie the set at 5-5 before both men held with ease once again and headed into a tie-breaker.

Murray gained the mini-break with the first point and though Dimitrov hit back, Murray won six of the next seven points to earn his maiden China Open title.

The newly-crowned champion will remain in China as he returns to action at next week’s Shanghai Rolex Masters.

Johanna Konta wants to keep progressing and challenge for more titles after climbing into the world’s top 10.

Poland’s Agnieszka Radwanska, the third seed, won the China Open with a 6-4 6-2 defeat of Konta, who nevertheless had reason to celebrate as she became the fourth British woman to make the world’s top 10 since WTA rankings began in 1975.

“It’s pretty cool,” said Konta.

“I’m pleased with my progress over the past few years and hopefully many more places to climb. I’m just working hard towards playing matches like these.”

“She was definitely a woman on a mission. Whenever I felt I could have got a little bit of a foothold in the match, she took it away from me.

“She hardly missed a ball. When she is so consistent and she moves the ball around as well as that, she’s very, very difficult to beat.

“I definitely fought til the very end. I tried to exhaust all avenues possible. It just didn’t go my way.

“But, again, a lot of good things to take from this week.”