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Last Updated: Monday, 19 February 2007, 01:57 GMT
Murray fights back to keep title
By Piers Newbery

Andy Murray
Murray retained the title he first won by beating Lleyton Hewitt last year
Andy Murray battled back from a set down to beat big-serving Croat Ivo Karlovic and retain his SAP Open title in San Jose on Sunday.

The British number one came through 6-7 (3-7) 6-4 7-6 (7-2) to claim the second ATP Tour title of his career.

The 6ft 10in Karlovic saved an early break point before taking the tie-break and breaking early in the second set.

But Murray recovered superbly with two breaks of his own to level before dominating the final set tie-break.

Karlovic came into the match having hit 87 aces and put out James Blake, and it was no surprise that his serve was the key shot for much of the match.

The Croat fired another 26 aces in the final and won 84% of the points on his first serve, but found in Murray an opponent who could do damage on the second serve.

After Murray wasted an early break point in game five by missing a makeable backhand, the set moved seemingly inevitably to a tie-break.

I've been in two finals now this year so it's going well

Andy Murray

At 3-3 in the breaker, Murray was incensed with a line call that saw him drop serve and Karlovic powered through to take the set.

A visibly angry Murray lost his composure, and his serve, at the start of the second and the writing appeared to be on the wall.

Karlovic had dropped serve just once in the tournament before the final but Murray found his range, breaking back immediately and upping the pressure in game 10 to level.

606 DEBATE: Give your thoughts on Murray's performance

The Scot has been working hard on his fitness and looked the more energetic of the two in the closing stages as he fended off three break points.

And with the match hanging on the outcome of another tie-break, this time Murray was the more composed.

A superb scrambling lob helped him to a mini-break at 2-1 before Karlovic made his first double fault of the night to go 5-2 down, and Murray went on to seal victory with an ace.

You do have to strike the ball pretty well to win an ATP tournament and I think I did that this week

Andy Murray

"I'd like to thank Brad (Gilbert, his coach) and Mark Grabow, my fitness trainer," the 19-year-old said.

"We have done a lot of work in seven months, and it hasn't always been fun, but I've been in two finals now this year so it's going well."

The Scot said he had to be patient and wait for his chances against the giant Croat, who served 26 aces.

"For three sets he was so confident you just have to hang in there and try to keep it tight," he said. "When I got the chances, I just had to take them.

"It's the little things you can pick up on as the match goes on. I was able to pick up the ball from my backhand. I've never played anyone like that before.

"Brad told me to put a high percentage of first serves in and try to be patient on the second.

"You do have to strike the ball pretty well to win an ATP tournament and I think I did that this week."



SEE ALSO
Murray v Karlovic gamewatch
18 Feb 07 |  Tennis
Murray battles into semi-finals
17 Feb 07 |  Tennis


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