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Andy Murray vs. Grigor Dimitrov: Score and Reaction from China Open 2016 Final

James Dudko@@JamesDudkoFeatured ColumnistOctober 9, 2016

Andy Murray of Britain hits a return against Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria during the men's singles final at the China Open tennis tournament in Beijing on October 9, 2016. / AFP / WANG ZHAO        (Photo credit should read WANG ZHAO/AFP/Getty Images)
WANG ZHAO/Getty Images

Andy Murray won the 2016 China Open final after a 6-4, 7-6 (2) straight-sets win over Grigor Dimitrov in Sunday's final in Beijing. Murray won, but only after being taken to a tiebreak in the second, thanks to some stunning shots from Dimitrov on the brink of defeat. 

The win moves Murray closer to his aim of supplanting Novak Djokovic as the top-ranked men's player in the world. 

An early break of serve helped Murray steal a one-game lead in the opening set. The Scot appeared in firm control until Dimitrov battled back to trail 3-2.

Dimitrov then squandered a great chance after Murray inexplicably fluffed a forehand. Some feeble serving from the Bulgarian let Murray off the hook, though, and it was soon 4-2.

Murray was strong early on.
Murray was strong early on.NICOLAS ASFOURI/Getty Images

But his game was stronger next time out, with a blistering forehand forcing Murray to overhit his passing shot and again reduce the advantage, this time to 4-3.

Yet it was Dimitrov making too many unforced errors. He hit the net more than once to gift Murray another game, and although Dimitrov took the next, Murray still had the chance to serve for the set.

One more Dimitrov error handed Murray the set when an errant backhand sailed out to help the Scot seal a 6-4 triumph. The numbers from the first set showed Dimitrov was guilty of a trio of double-faults, something symptomatic of his error-strewn start.

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Dimitrov made too many mistakes.
Dimitrov made too many mistakes.WANG ZHAO/Getty Images

Yet being a set down seemed to bring out the best in him. Dimitrov took the first game of the second set and produced some exceptional tennis in the rallies, once fooling Murray with a particularly cunning drop shot.

But few players can manufacture points as well as Murray. He was soon level after some fine work at the net. It was an initiative he didn't hold for long, though, as another devilish drop shot helped Dimitrov take the next game—but only after saving two break points.

Despite all of his good tennis, Dimitrov just couldn't get out of his own way. He failed to hold serve in the next game, gifting Murray a break and the initiative, after another double-fault, before putting too much on a forehand.

Live Tennis summed up what has happening to the Dimitrov serve in key moments:

An intense Murray kept the pressure high, moving 30-15 ahead after Dimitrov lost out on a review. Another review went Murray's way, before an ace closed the game out and gave him a 4-2 lead.

The Bulgarian regained his composure to take the next game, but he couldn't stop Murray's serve, and the Scot now needed one game to seal the title.

Dimitrov managed to keep things alive, thanks largely to an outrageous shot between the legs that left Murray stranded and the crowd wowed.

This piece of improvisation didn't merely delay the inevitable, as Dimitrov managed to break with the title on the line. He took the first point after a marathon-length rally. A second soon followed when Murray hit the net as his nerves began to show.

Those nerves were obvious once Dimitrov sealed the break to even things at 5-5, before serving his way into the lead. The onus was now on Murray to withstand the pressure. He met the challenge to serve his way into a tiebreak.

Another splendid rally saw Dimitrov even things at a point apiece thanks to a cute backhand. But that was as close as he got, with Murray moving 3-1 ahead after earning another mini-break.

At 6-2, Murray had four championship points, and he made certain of his fifth title of the year on the first.

Dimitrov was magnanimous in defeat, praising Murray's performance, per BBC Sport: "Andy is one of the toughest competitors out there, and the credit goes to him."

The victor returned the compliment and paid respect to Dimitrov while also applauding a great week in Beijing, per Matt Westby of Sky Sports: "It was a great week for me. Today's match was a very high-level match. Grigor fought right to the end and made it extremely tough to finish it in two sets.

But Murray also turned his attention toward Shanghai: "It's been an excellent week, and I'm very happy with the way that I have played the last couple of matches. I will look forward to Shanghai now."

Murray has put the pressure firmly on Djokovic ahead of both featuring at this year's Shanghai Rolex Masters, a tournament the latter has won three of the last four years.

Murray is on a roll, though, after taking full advantage of the elbow injury that kept Djokovic out of this tournament.

   

All scoring and statistical information, per the ATP official site.

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