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Murray lifts Italian Open title

By The Assam Tribune

ROME, May 16: Andy Murray beat Novak Djokovic for only the second time in 14 matches since the 2013 Wimbledon final to win his first Italian Open title � a fractious, fascinating affair � and heads for Paris with every hope of creating more history in the French Open.

In a compelling second set Djokovic begged the chair umpire, Damian Steiner of Argentina, to suspend play �for five minutes� to clean up a surface on which he had three times nearly tumbled heavily and which had been unreliable all week. Steiner stayed firm. Murray said nothing and, under darkening skies beyond the harsh court lights, completed a deserved and impressive 6-3, 6-3 win.

Andy Murray saw off Novak Djokovic in straight sets to hand the world No1 a rare defeat and claim his first title at the Foro Italico.

No British player has won here in the Open era and archivists have to reach back to 1931 to dig out the name of George Patrick Hughes, who prevailed over the French legend, Henri Cochet, a quick 6-4, 6-3, 6-2 victory that presaged one of those extraordinary British droughts, the sporting counterpoint to our weather.

In a rainy, cloud-covered mist that would not have looked out of place in the Scottish Highlands Murray and Djokovic played the best of three but it was surely tougher and longer than that black-and-white moment.

This one, lasting an hour and 35 minutes, must have seemed twice as long for the loser, who was carrying not only fatigue from a three-hour semifinal against Kei Nishikori the night before but a bruise on his left foot, self-inflicted towards the end of that match as he tried to loosen dirt from his shoe. It was not his weekend by any stretch.

The loser calmed his temper and gathered his composure to say courtside on Sunday, partly in Italian, �Well done, Andy. You did a great job today. You were too good, just too good.� Murray probably was not a jot concerned.

He had beaten Djokovic, the toughest gig in tennis.

Murray, who split from his coach, Amelie Mauresmo, this week, threw his opponent a bone when he acknowledged Djokovic, who beat the Scot in the previous week�s final in Madrid, was backing up from a tough semi.

�It�s hard coming back from a long match the night before. And he fought hard all the way to the end,� he said.

Murray could not have had a better start, holding to love as he moved Djokovic from side to side. He had watched the Nishikori match; he knew Djokovic was vulnerable. An odd thing happened in mid-point at 0-15 in the second game; the lights came on. Only in Rome would this happen. With their shadows underfoot the players were officially in a night game � at 5.20pm.

The natural light was indeed fading and the gathering breeze rustling through the ancient trees surrounding this magnificent stadium whispered of advancing rain. It never properly arrived.

Murray was on fire in the damp gloom, almost despite himself. He blew two nailed-on break points in the second game and not enough of his first serves were landing but he was hitting with nerveless precision off the ground. It took Djokovic fully 20 minutes to take a point off his serve. � Agencies

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Murray lifts Italian Open title

ROME, May 16: Andy Murray beat Novak Djokovic for only the second time in 14 matches since the 2013 Wimbledon final to win his first Italian Open title � a fractious, fascinating affair � and heads for Paris with every hope of creating more history in the French Open.

In a compelling second set Djokovic begged the chair umpire, Damian Steiner of Argentina, to suspend play �for five minutes� to clean up a surface on which he had three times nearly tumbled heavily and which had been unreliable all week. Steiner stayed firm. Murray said nothing and, under darkening skies beyond the harsh court lights, completed a deserved and impressive 6-3, 6-3 win.

Andy Murray saw off Novak Djokovic in straight sets to hand the world No1 a rare defeat and claim his first title at the Foro Italico.

No British player has won here in the Open era and archivists have to reach back to 1931 to dig out the name of George Patrick Hughes, who prevailed over the French legend, Henri Cochet, a quick 6-4, 6-3, 6-2 victory that presaged one of those extraordinary British droughts, the sporting counterpoint to our weather.

In a rainy, cloud-covered mist that would not have looked out of place in the Scottish Highlands Murray and Djokovic played the best of three but it was surely tougher and longer than that black-and-white moment.

This one, lasting an hour and 35 minutes, must have seemed twice as long for the loser, who was carrying not only fatigue from a three-hour semifinal against Kei Nishikori the night before but a bruise on his left foot, self-inflicted towards the end of that match as he tried to loosen dirt from his shoe. It was not his weekend by any stretch.

The loser calmed his temper and gathered his composure to say courtside on Sunday, partly in Italian, �Well done, Andy. You did a great job today. You were too good, just too good.� Murray probably was not a jot concerned.

He had beaten Djokovic, the toughest gig in tennis.

Murray, who split from his coach, Amelie Mauresmo, this week, threw his opponent a bone when he acknowledged Djokovic, who beat the Scot in the previous week�s final in Madrid, was backing up from a tough semi.

�It�s hard coming back from a long match the night before. And he fought hard all the way to the end,� he said.

Murray could not have had a better start, holding to love as he moved Djokovic from side to side. He had watched the Nishikori match; he knew Djokovic was vulnerable. An odd thing happened in mid-point at 0-15 in the second game; the lights came on. Only in Rome would this happen. With their shadows underfoot the players were officially in a night game � at 5.20pm.

The natural light was indeed fading and the gathering breeze rustling through the ancient trees surrounding this magnificent stadium whispered of advancing rain. It never properly arrived.

Murray was on fire in the damp gloom, almost despite himself. He blew two nailed-on break points in the second game and not enough of his first serves were landing but he was hitting with nerveless precision off the ground. It took Djokovic fully 20 minutes to take a point off his serve. � Agencies