Murray breaks into big-time with Masters Series success

(dpa) - Andy Murray beat Novak Djokovic for the second time in two weeks to win his first top-level career title with a 7-6 (7-4), 7-6 (7-5) victory on Sunday at the Cincinnati Masters.

The 21-year-old Scot becomes the first from Britain to claim an elite Masters shield since 2000 Cincinnati Tim Henman finalist won the Paris Bercy title in late 2003.

Murray will rise to his best-ever number six ranking on Monday in time to travel to the Beijing Games. He needed five match points to go through in nearly two and a half hours.

He has now upset Djokovic twice in nine days after stopping the Serb in the Toronto quarter-finals last week. The title was the third for Murray this season after Doha and Marseille at the start of the season.

"It's huge to win your first major tournament, especially in a match like today," said Murray, winner of 35 matches this season. "That makes it even more special."

Murray needed six match points to go through, with the number 3 Serb saving four in a dramatic ninth game of the second set with the Scot serving for the win.

As the second set went to a tiebreaker, Murray lost on a fifth winning chance before converting on his sixth after nearly two and a half hours of struggle.

He has now beaten Djokvoic twice in as many weeks after losing four previous matches to his fellow 21-year-old.

"By the start of the second set the standard dropped a bit," said Murray of a contest played in mid- 30 Celsius heat. "At the end it was very tough, physically tough.

"You just have to try and stay focussed. I fought, I tried to stay calm and struck to my game plan. That made the difference."

"Novak had a chance to get back into it, I was happy the way I fought and stayed in there. I've done a lot or work off the court. This makes it all worthwhile.

"I've really struggled against him in the past, I had to change something. I had to serve more aggressive and play a smarter game."

Djokovic, who was rushing like Murray to catch a flight to the Beijing Olympics, said he was affected by conditions: "It was a lot about the heat, just lost the rhythm today. I had my chances and I could have played better."

Murray's victory produced Britain's first Masters Cup shield in five years as the new world number six proved the validity of today's career-high ranking.

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