Murray puts Abu Dhabi woe behind him to win in Brisbane
Andy Murray shook off his disappointing showing in Abu Dhabi to claim his first title of the season as he saw off rising Bulgarian star Grigor Dimitrov 7-6 (7/0), 6-4 at the Brisbane International.
Murray recovered from 4-1 down in the first set and a break in the second to subdue the challenge of the talented Dimitrov, who has won favourable comparisons to Roger Federer, and retain his Brisbane crown.
The win comes a week after Murray lost to Janko Tipsarevic in the Mubadala World Tennis Championship as he failed to add to his 2009 title in the tournament's inaugural year.
"I thought the standard of tennis was good today," Murray said, admitting he had to change tactics during the first set after Dimitrov's lightning start.
"There were a lot of high-quality rallies and I had to change a few things. He started the match off very well and was extremely aggressive. "I needed to change things around a little bit and I managed to start dictating a lot of points and use my forehand well."
The 87-minute victory gave Murray his 25th ATP career title and was the perfect preparation for the Australian Open beginning in just over a week. But he was made to work hard for the win by the Bulgarian starlet, who was making his first appearance in an ATP final.
It was Dimitrov's backhand that initially caused problems for the reigning US Open champion, who had trouble dealing with the amount of slice the Bulgarian was getting on the ball.
Dimitrov, 21, broke Murray's first service game and looked untroubled on his own serve until serving for the set at 5-4, when he faltered and allowed the Scotsman back into the match.
Murray took his chance and stormed through the tie-break without dropping a point, his powerful groundstrokes forcing Dimitrov onto the back foot and into error.
The Bulgarian had another great chance in the second set when he broke Murray in the seventh game to go ahead 4-3, only for the world No3 to hit back immediately.
Murray held his own serve to go to 5-4, then broke again to take the title and head into the Australian Open full of confidence when a Dimitrov backhand sailed long.