Murray Wins First Title of 2014 in Shenzhen, Nishikori Starts Asian Swing With a Bang in Malaysia
Andy Murray has had his most disappointing season in years, but he did finally win a title in Shenzhen, becoming the first champion in the history of the tournament. The best player in the field this week earned a well-deserved victory in the final over Tommy Robredo 5-7 7-6 6-1. The final was a highly entertaining affair as Murray saved four consecutive match points in the second set tiebreak, and a total of five match points overall. Robredo would physically wilt after dropping the second set, as Murray gained momentum and rolled through the third set.
Murray showed further signs of turning the corner as he bids to qualify for the year end World Tour Finals. He beat Somdev Devarrman and Lukas Lacko early on without dropping a set, then topped surprise semifinalist Juan Monaco in 3 sets to reach the final.
Robredo continued his strong season. The Spaniard needed consecutive 3 set wins over Sam Groth and Andreas Seppi to reach the semis, but then he easily handled an erratic Santiago Giraldo, who was contesting yet another ATP semifinal this season.
Jean-Julien Rojer and Horia Tecau beat the Aussie duo of Sam Groth and Chris Guccione for the doubles title. The top doubles seeds now have six ATP titles together this season.
ATP Kuala Lumpur
I didn’t see anyone in the draw to stop a red hot Kei Nishikori from winning in Malaysia, and he proved me right, obtaining a 7-6 6-4 victory over Julien Benneteau, who dropped his third consecutive Malaysian Open final and falls to 0-10 overall in career ATP finals.
The top Asian player on tour was untroubled by Rajeev Ram and Marinko Matosevic before facing stiffer competition in the semis from Jarkko Nieminen. He survived that in 3 sets and his returning and speedy pace redirection were just too good this week for any opponent.
Benneteau extended his perfect record outside of finals in KL. He beat Filip Krajinovic in straights, Pablo Cuevas in 3 sets from a break down in the third, and Ernests Gulbis, the number 2 seed, in straight sets in the semifinals.
Marcin Matkowski and Leander Paes beat Jamie Murray and John Peers for the doubles title, denying the Murray family multiple titles this week on tour.
—Steen Kirby, Tennis East Coast