Murray claims 45th career title with Dubai triumph
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 Tennis Championships on Saturday.
World number one 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.
Despite his defeat, Verdasco will return to the top 30 for the first time since April 2015 thanks to his run to the final.
"I think that obviously I had, if not the toughest opponent I can have in the final, then one of them, for sure," said Verdasco.
"He's number one in the world right now. It was obviously a really difficult final to win, but I came trying everything and giving everything.
"I said yesterday that being in the final of a 500 after five years is a great week for me and I have to take the positive things."