MARSEILLE, France (Reuters) - British number one Andy Murray won his second title of the year when he beat Croatia’s Mario Ancic 6-3 6-4 in the Marseille Open final on Sunday.
World number 11 Murray, who won the Qatar Open last month, served and returned superbly to seal his fifth career title after an hour and 44 minutes of high quality tennis.
The 20-year-old Murray, who will return to the world’s top 10 with the win, has lost just one match this year, to eventual runner-up Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the first round of last month’s Australian Open.
The first set was tight until Murray, seeded fourth in the indoor event, broke Ancic with a superb forehand winner in the eighth game. He then served for the set, taking it with an ace after squandering four set points.
“That last game of the first set was crucial,” Murray said. “If two or three points had gone his way, the issue could have been different.”
Wild card Ancic, who has dropped out of the top 100 after being sidelined for six months last year with glandular fever, reacted by capturing his opponent’s serve for the first time in the fourth game of the second set.
The 20-year-old Murray broke back immediately and took Ancic’s serve again in the seventh game. Leading 5-3, he earned a first match point, which Ancic saved with a dropshot before holding serve.
The Scot then served for the match, wrapping up victory with a service winner on his second match point.
“Mario played a great match,” Murray said. “People can’t imagine what he went through in 2007 with his health problems. It’s good to see him back on the tour.”
Murray and Ancic had met once before, in Auckland in 2006, with Ancic, who peaked at world number seven that year, winning 6-3 7-6.
“It was really tough with a lot of close games,” Murray said of Sunday’s match.
“I served well throughout and returned really well in the second set. He started getting a bit tired in that second set and that was probably the key to the match.”
After winning in Doha, Murray was knocked out at Melbourne Park before a knee injury forced him to withdraw from the Davis Cup tie with Argentina.
“I think I made the right decision,” Murray said. “Davis Cup matches are very tiring and I didn’t want to take risks.”