Murray secures 45th career title with Dubai win

World No. 1 Andy Murray of Great Britain with his championship trophy after winning his ATP final tennis match against Spain's Fernando Verdasco during the Dubai Duty Free Championships on Saturday. (AFP)
Updated 04 March 2017
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Murray secures 45th career title with Dubai win

DUBAI: Andy Murray clinched his first title of 2017 and 45th of his career as he dominated Spain's Fernando Verdasco 6-3, 6-2 to win the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships on Saturday.
World No. 1 Murray claimed the trophy in the emirate for the first time after losing the final five years ago to Roger Federer.
The Scot finished the job in just 73 minutes on the first of three match points, an untouchable service winner.
“It’s obviously nice to finally win here,” said the top seed. “It feels great to take the trophy for the first time.”
“I played a good match today. I had a bit of a slow start, but we’ve had a lot of late nights this week. But once I got going, I was moving well and finished strong.”
Murray improved his record over 35th-ranked left-hander Verdasco to 13 wins and just one loss.
He was playing in his second final of 2017 after losing to Novak Djokovic in nearby Doha during the opening week of the season in January.
The first three games of the contest featured breaks of serve before Murray steadied, breaking for 5-3 and taking the opening set.
In the second, Murray earned a 2-1 lead as he eased to victory.
Murray now makes the long flight halfway around the world to Los Angeles to prepare for the start of the Indian Wells Masters.
His win on Saturday allowed Murray to become the first British champion in the 25-year history of the Dubai tournament.
He was playing in his seventh final in his last eight tournaments and 14th final in his last 16 events.
Nadal roars into ATP Acapulco showdown with Querrey
Two-time champion Rafael Nadal raced past third-seeded Marin Cilic 6-1, 6-2 to reach the ATP Mexico Open final, where his perfect Acapulco record will be put to the test by Sam Querrey.
Querrey ousted Nick Kyrgios 3-6, 6-1, 7-5 to bring the sixth-seeded Australian's giant-killing run to a halt a day after Kyrgios stunned world No. 2 Novak Djokovic in straight sets.
Second-seeded Nadal, playing his first tournament since falling to Roger Federer in an epic five-set final at the Australian Open in January, has won all 14 matches he has played in Acapulco, where he lifted the trophy in 2005 and 2013.
Nadal roared through the opening set against Cilic, building a 5-0 lead before the former US Open champion, who advanced to the semi-finals on a walkover when scheduled opponent Steve Johnson withdrew, showed signs of life with a service hold for 5-1.
Croatia's Cilic seized a 0-40 lead on Nadal in the next game, but the Spaniard saved four break points to hold for the opening set.
After receiving treatment on his right ankle, Cilic promptly dropped his serve to open the second set, and while he mustered break chances in each of Nadal’s first three service games of the second set, he couldn’t convert.
Nadal, firing on all cylinders from the baseline, muscled two winners past Cilic as he broke again for a 5-2 lead and served it out with one last forehand winner.
“I have to be playing well to win like this against a player like Marin, so I’m pleased with the performance,” said Nadal, who withdrew from last month’s tournament in Rotterdam after doctors told him he needed some rest after his run to the final in Melbourne.
“I’m happy with my focus in important moments, saving break points with good shots,” Nadal said. “I enjoyed the atmosphere here, so it's great for me to be in the final.”
Querrey and Kyrgios were neck and neck in the third set when the American produced the first break of the set in the final game to seize the victory.
Querrey had saved the only break point he faced in the set with a 135 mile per hour serve in the fifth game.
Kyrgios, 21, had appeared on his way when he closed out the first set by winning four straight games.
But after leading 40-15 in the opening game of the second set he was broken, and suddenly seemed at sea and Querrey took the set in just 23 minutes as Kyrgios’ mistakes multiplied.


Kane stunner earns Spurs victory over Juventus

Updated 21 July 2019
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Kane stunner earns Spurs victory over Juventus

  • Juventus struggle to adapt to their new manager’s ‘Sarri-ball’ tactic of playing out from the back with short, quick passes

SINGAPORE: Harry Kane scored a stunning 93rd minute winner from the halfway line as Tottenham Hotspur edged Juventus 3-2 in an entertaining pre-season friendly in Singapore on Sunday.

The England captain latched onto Lucas Moura's short pass and launched a first-time shot high over a scrambling substitute Wojciech Szczesny in the Juventus goal as Spurs rallied past new manager Maurizio Sarri's Italian champions in front of a delighted National Stadium crowd.

“It’s probably one of the best goals of my career. I noticed the keeper was often off of his line and thought if I get a chance to shoot I will, and it just went in,” Kane said in a post-match interview.

A youthful Spurs dominated the first half as Juventus struggled to adapt to their new manager’s “Sarri-ball” tactic of playing out from the back with short, quick passes. Instead of moving the ball forward, Juventus often found themselves defending desperately after being caught in possession as Spurs pressed high up the pitch with the Premier League side going on to take a deserved lead on the half-hour mark.

Son Heung-min started the move by holding up play and feeding Troy Parrott for a clear run at Gianluigi Buffon in the Juventus goal, with the 17-year-old forward's low strike parried by the keeper straight into the path of an unmarked Erik Lamela for a routine tap-in.

Juventus had more success after the break when they increased their tempo and went more direct, and halftime substitute Gonzalo Higuain levelled the score in the 56th minute with a drilled strike after exchanging passes with Federico Bernardeschi.

Buoyed by the equalizer, Juventus were soon ahead when Ronaldo arrived late to drive home Mattia De Sciglio's cutback four minutes later, leaving to rapturous applause by an adoring crowd when he was substituted immediately after scoring.

Spurs were level five minutes later, however, when Champions League semifinal hero Lucas fired home record-signing Tanguy Ndombele's low cross, the French midfielder finding the Brazilian with his first touch after coming on as a substitute.

Kane and Higuain both squandered good chances to score winning goals in the final 10 minutes before the England striker prevented the contest going to a penalty shootout with the most brilliant of strikes.

Meantime, Tottenham forward  Moura insists he does not  hold a grudge against boss Mauricio Pochettino despite being dropped for the Champions League final.

“I need to respect the decision of the coach and respect my teammates, so no problem with this,” said Lucas who was left on the bench for the final in spite of scoring a dramatic hat rick in Spurs' stunning semifinal comeback at Ajax.

Pochettino preferred to use  Kane in attack against Liverpool in Madrid despite a lengthy absence following injury.

Brazil international Lucas eventually came on in the 66th minute, but was unable to prevent Tottenham slipping to a 2-0 defeat.

“Of course it was difficult because every player wants to play. But it was even more to lose the game,” Lucas was quoted as saying by several British media outlets.

“For sure he (Pochettino) has a good reason for this (decision) and I am sure that it was difficult for him as well to choose a player. He needs to choose only 11.”

“I respect, I am a professional. No problem for this. Now I look forward to the next season.”