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21 February 2024

Murray to face Dolgopolov in Brisbane final

By Reuters

A merciless Andy Murray subjected Australia's Bernard Tomic to a 6-3 6-2 thrashing on Saturday to deflate local fans and set up an intriguing final with Alexandr Dolgopolov at the Brisbane International. 

World number four Murray had ended Dolgopolov's barnstorming run to the quarter-finals of the Australian Open last year and appears in fine fettle for the re-match after disposing of Wimbledon quarter-finalist Tomic with clinical efficiency. 

After trading baseline blows for the opening games at the Pat Rafter Arena, Murray pounced at 4-3 in the first set to break his 19-year-old opponent, then raced to a 2-0 lead in the second. 

Tomic took a medical time-out at 2-1 to have his foot strapped but the break did little to stall Murray's momentum as the Briton wrapped up the match in 69 minutes, bullying his young opponent with strong serving and blasting winners from all angles. 

"He started very well but I managed to get into a lot of long rallies at the end of the first set and got through," Murray said in a courtside interview. 

"I'm just moving so much better. It's such a huge part of my game so when I move well the rest of my game goes well and made it hard for Bernard to hit lots of clean winners." 

Murray will meet Dolgopolov after the pony-tailed Ukrainian ground down Frenchman Gilles Simon 6-3 6-4 in the first semi-final earlier on Saturday. 

Dolgopolov, who pushed Murray to four sets in a tension-charged quarter-final at Melbourne Park last year, also showed promising form, breaking Simon twice to wrap up the first set comfortably before holding him off in the tighter second set. 

The 23-year-old had to take a medical time-out when leading 3-2 in the second and had his right leg massaged by a physiotherapist but returned to close out the match with a pair of blistering forehands down the line. 

Dologopolov said his leg had been "pinched a bit" during a point against Simon but he would be fit to play the final. 

"Yeah, for sure, all the people are here, I have to play," he added with a smile, raising chuckles from the crowd at Pat Rafter Arena. 

"I'm really happy, I've been playing better and better through the matches ... It's going to be a really exciting final, I think." 

In the women's final, hard-hitting Estonian Kaia Kanepi steamrolled Slovakia's Daniela Hantuchova 6-2 6-1 to win her second WTA title. 

The 26-year-old Kanepi, her country's first WTA winner, needed only 73 minutes to dispose of a listless Hantuchova, whose path to the final had been cleared by injuries to opponents Serena Williams and Kim Clijsters.