Back to business for Murray in search of a Slam

Andy Murray's form is such that only injury or illness look capable of beating him at the moment, but not even a back problem could stop the 21-year-old Scot continuing his winning start to the year at the Qatar Open in Doha yesterday. Twenty-four hours after beating Roger Federer for the third time in succession, he completed the successful defence of the first of his five titles from last year when he beat Andy Roddick 6-4 6-2 in a match that lasted only 70 minutes.

There may be three players ahead of Murray in the rankings but the world No 4 has already been installed as the bookmakers' favourite to win the Australian Open, which begins in eight days' time. Murray was the game's outstanding player in the second half of last season and has looked every bit as dominant at the start of the new campaign.

Having beaten James Blake, Federer and Rafael Nadal on his way to victory in an exhibition in Abu Dhabi last week, the British No 1 has remained unbeaten in his first competitive outing of the season, which is the only tournament he is playing before the calendar's first Grand Slam event. The year is less than a fortnight old but he has already won $433,000 (£284,000) in prize money and probably as much again in appearance fees. No wonder, then, that he has appointed David Beckham's management company to look after his commercial interests.

Murray has been troubled by a sore back for the past week and was even talking about withdrawing from the final, but you would never have guessed that he had a problem.

Roddick, who has now lost six of his eight matches against the Scot, forced only one break point, which he failed to take, while his opponent converted all three of his break opportunities. Taking your chances is usually crucial against a player with as big a serve as the 26-year-old American, though it was Murray who hit more aces (five compared to Roddick's three) and won more points in returning first serves.

Roddick was under pressure from the start and was broken to love in the fifth game. The world No 8 tried to mix up his game but won only five points on Murray's serve in the opening set.

It was more one-way traffic in the second set, although Roddick rallied very briefly by forcing a break point when Murray served for the match at 5-2. The Scot saved it with an ace and won the match two points later with a backhand winner.

"I think I played similar to the last two sets I played against Federer," Murray said afterwards. "I served well and I didn't allow Andy to break me. I also knew Andy can get confident on his serve, so I tried to stay ahead of him in the match."

In an ominous warning to future opponents, he added: "I am not close to my best tennis. I need to do what I did at Wimbledon and the US Open last year. But if I play my best tennis then I can beat the top players."

Roddick admitted he had been outplayed. "He's in top form right now," the American said. "I think he is capable of winning the big ones. He was hitting great balls."

This is the ninth title of Murray's career and his fourth in the past five months. In September he reached his first Grand Slam final at the US Open before losing to Federer and he will be aiming to go one better in Melbourne, where the surface is to his liking even though he has lost inthe first round of two of his three appearances Down Under.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
A still from a scene cut from The Interview showing North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's death.
tech
Voices
'That's the legal bit done. Now on to the ceremony!'
voicesThe fight for marriage equality isn't over yet, says Siobhan Fenton
Life and Style
Approaching sale shopping in a smart way means that you’ll get the most out of your money
life + styleSales shopping tips and tricks from the experts
Arts and Entertainment
Bianca Miller and Katie Bulmer-Cooke are scrutinised by Lord Sugar's aide Nick Hewer on The Apprentice final
tvBut Bianca Miller has taken on board his comments over pricing
News
in picturesWounded and mangy husky puppy rescued from dump
News
newsAstonishing moment a kangaroo takes down a drone
Life and Style
Duchess of Cambridge standswith officials outside of the former wartime spy centre in Bletchley Park
tech
News
people
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'