By Florian Heer
(October 26, 2014) VALENCIA – On Sunday, the 32-man draw at the City of Arts and Science in Valencia was whittled down to just two players when third-seed Andy Murray took on Tommy Robredo in a repeat of last month’s Shenzhen final. Back then, Murray saved five match points en route to his first title in 15 months and same would happen in Sunday’s final in Valencia. In a sublime encounter with spectacular rallies, great emotions and brilliant atmosphere, the Brit emerged victorious winning 3-6, 7-6(7), 7-6(8) after three hours and 20 minutes. Both players basically collapsed on each other at the net.
Robredo flipped Murray the double bird before handshake, which actually explains all. “The next time I’ve match balls against you, I’ll beat you,” the Spaniard’s said right after the longest final on the ATP World Tour this year so far. “We were both very focused in the match but we have different characters. Some players show their emotions on court, others don’t.” Robredo talked about handling the emotions during the game. Murray smashed his racket more than once during the final, whereas the Spanish 32-year-old veteran remained calm in the difficult moments.
The 27-year-old Scot took his third title of 2014 after winning in Shenzhen as well as in Vienna and his 31st title in total. “I feel really tired right now,” Murray said afterwards. “Tomorrow, for sure I will enjoy it but right now my body is pretty sore. I know it was an incredible match. Some of tennis at the end of the third set and also in the second set was extremely high level. I was just lucky to manage to win. Tommy had his chances but I played some good tennis in the right moment.”
“I’m leaving for Paris this evening at 11 pm. I would like to have a week off but I’ll take care. Tomorrow, at least I’ll take a day off. I know I just have to win matches to go to London. The other players in Paris behind me in the Race need to play extremely well to knock me out. I have almost done everything I could,” the world No. 10 said. Murray moves to fifth position in the ATP Race to London and two more wins in Paris would guarantee his spot for the ATP World Tour Finals.
Earlier the day, Jean-Julien Rojer and Horia Tecau claimed their eighth doubles title of the season winning 6-4, 6-2 against Kevin Anderson and Jeremy Chardy, who contested their first final as a team. By adding another 500 points, the Dutch-Romanian combination will improve to fifth position in the ATP Doubles Race to London.
“There was a tough line-up with a lot of strong teams here in Valencia at the beginning of the tournament,” Tecau said. “We took advantage of a few seeds, who lost early but we also had some tough matches. We focused on getting one win after another and today we found ourselves winning the title. We are very happy.”
“Good teamwork, great partnership,” Rojer added. “That’s our key to success. We work well together, not only in the matches but also outside the court. We always talk about our matches, what we can improve and how we can improve. There are many little things, which makes a team strong but these are things that had helped us to come along as a team this year. Centre Court here is great. It’s like playing inside a museum. From what we’ve had seen the city is also beautiful. The weather is incredible. Playing an indoor tournament at this time of the year with having sunshine like this, you will not find anywhere else,” both seemed to feel good in Valencia and added that they will stick together as a team in the next season.
Juan Carlos Ferrero also spoke to the media. “We are very happy with this week. We had about 180,000 visitors coming to the open Fun Park and about 85,000 tickets were sold,” the tournament director said. “The tournament will remain here as an ATP 500 event for at least two more years. We would like to have it here even longer but for the moment we will keep it like that.”
Florian Heer travels the tennis tour with a focus on ATP Challenger events and the ITF Future Circuit. Follow his twitter account @Florian _Heer. He was in Valencia covering the Valencia Open as media for Tennis Panorama.