Scottish tennis player Andy Murray’s somewhat hasty search for end of the season tour points saw him grinding his way through to the final of the Valencia Open 500 at the compellingly beautiful City of Arts and Sciences where he played Spain’s 32 year old Tommy Robredo in the final.
Murray, who won the tournament in 2009 entered the final as the favourite against current world number 21 Robredo, after beating three times Valencia Open winner David Ferrer in the semi-final clash on Saturday.
The first set went well for the former Wimbledon champion impressive in the first six games and Robredo looking laboured, then in the seventh game Robredo suddenly found a new gear and began to inject pace into his game, Murray was soon struggling and the end of the first set couldn’t come soon enough as Robredo took four games in a row to win it 6-3.
A different Murray came out for the second set, having reminded himself that he’s not only an Olympic singles champion but two times Grand Slam winner. Four consecutive love games and two breaks, 40-0 up against Robredo’s serve in the eighth game and Murray looked set to cruise to the second set and retain a chance of getting the winners points. Unfortunately for Murray, Robredo didn’t agree and whipping up some fervour produced some of his best tennis of the tournament to win the next five points and keep his second set chances alive. From 2-4 down Robredo dragged the set towards its conclusion, a tie break with the second set at 6-6. An exhausted looking Murray was soon serving to stay in the match and seal the points towards the big ticket end of season’s finals in London. Match point soon arrived for Robredo, Murray had to change his racket after cracking it on the floor in frustration after putting a clear point into the net. Two match points saved and Murray back with service won the second set 7-6.
The third and deciding set found Murray making short work of his opening service game piling pressure on the Robredo serve as he searched for victory in what would be his 31st ATP title. Services were exchanged up until the seventh game when Murray suffering from the wobbles allowed Robredo to take the game to 0-40, a Murray double fault handed Robredo the break and he lead 4-3. An invigorated Murray fought back in the next game and broke the resilient Robredo to 4-4. The match continued to frustrate at each turn with both players seemingly on the verge of collapse one moment, then scampering around like excitable puppies the next. Murray took the next game to move into a 5-4 lead and a mere four points away from lifting the trophy. Robredo’s service game began to look suspect as Murray took the game to 40-40 with an amazing backhand, only for Robredo to complain that his own dropped ball distracted him. Murray rallied back to advantage and his first championship point. Robredo dug deep, yet again saved the point, took the next and a mistake from Murray left it all square at 5-5. Four impressive serves later and Murray lead 6-5 with the pressure back on the Robredo service.
After three hours of play, Murray was once again in the ascendency. A passionate cry of ‘Andy’ from the crowd seems to put Murray off and Robredo serving at 40-15 served out the game 6-6 and the crowd of 6000 fans remained in their seats for the somewhat inevitable and tortuous tie break. Soon championship point arrived for Robredo only for Murray to save it twice. With the match balanced at 9-8 in Murrays favour, a long rally ended with Murray winning the championship, the trophy, the winners cheque and the all elusive points. Robredo exhausted in defeat had just enough energy to give Murray both index fingers as both players approached the net for the traditional handshake.