Tennis: Murray starts season on a winning note

Britain's Andy Murray. Photo / AP
Britain's Andy Murray. Photo / AP

Andy Murray has kicked off 2013 with a successful defence of his Brisbane International title, holding off the up-and-coming Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov 7-6, 6-4 in yesterday's final.

The 21-year-old Dimitrov raced to a 4-1 lead in his first ATP World Tour final, stunning Murray with some impressive single-handed backhands but lost his nerve and was broken when serving for the set at 5-3. After getting back on serve, No3-ranked Murray saved a set-point with an ace and forced a tiebreaker, which he dominated.

The Ivan Lendl-coached Murray began his breakthrough season in 2012 by winning in Brisbane and followed that with career-changing titles at the London Olympics and US Open, his first grand slam triumph.

He heads into the Australian Open, starting next week, as one of the hot favourites.

Meanwhile, Caroline Wozniacki believes she's still capable of regaining the world No1 ranking after belatedly opening her 2013 account at the Sydney International.

Following a shock first-round loss to qualifier Ksenia Pervak at the Brisbane International, the Danish seventh seed put her Australian Open preparations back on track with a comprehensive 6-1, 6-2 win over Poland's Urszula Radwanska, sister of ASB Classic winner Agnieszka, yesterday.

With boyfriend and golf star Rory McIlroy watching from the stands, 22-year-old Wozniacki was rarely troubled.

The Dane came to Australia as world No1 last summer but has slipped to No10 after a mixed year in which she had first-round exits at Wimbledon and the US Open.

Wozniacki insists she doesn't feel any different heading into the summer as more of an underdog but is hopeful a strong 2013 could see her threaten top spot again.

"I believe I can get back there," Wozniacki said after the win.

"But it's a lot of hard work and there are a lot of great players."

- AAP

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