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MARSEILLE, France, Feb 17, 2008 (AFP)
Britain's Andy Murray captured his second title of 2008 on Sunday with a 6-3, 6-4 win over Mario Ancic in the Marseille final which brought the Croatian's impressive comeback to an end. For world number 11 Murray, it was a fifth career singles title but Ancic, a former Davis Cup winner whose career has been decimated by injury and illness, can take heart from a shock run to the final here.
Scotsman Murray, who lost to Ancic in their first encounter two years ago in Auckland, broke in the eighth game of the first set to lead 5-3 and saved five break points in the ensuing game before closing out a one set lead. Ancic, a former world number seven who came into this event ranked at 135 after missing six months of the 2007 season, led 3-1 in the second set thanks to a break of serve in the fourth game, but Murray came back to win five of the next six games to close out the title match in one hour and 52 minutes. "It was a very high standard, I hit some really important shots on the big points, especially at the end of the first set," said Murray. "I think, when you can hit a lot of different shots it makes it more enjoyable to play, and to watch as well. I thought it was a good match and I enjoyed it."
Murray arrived in Marseille having controversially pulled out of Britain's Davis Cup trip to Argentina last weekend claiming he feared serious injury if he switched back and forth from hard court to clay and back indoors again. Murray, who won in Doha in January, now improves to 10-1 for the year with his only defeat coming against Australian Open finalist Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the first round in Melbourne. "I think obviously a lot was made of me not doing well in the Australian Open but I have come back well from it and confidence is high, so that can only help," said Murray.
Ancic was contesting his first tournament of the season having been sidelined for the first month with a stomach illness. He will now rise to around No. 90 in next week's rankings. He missed six months in 2007 with mononucleosis and prior to this week his last final came in 2006 in St. Petersburg where he defeated Thomas Johansson to claim his third title. "This is a big, big week for me," said Ancic. "If somebody told me before the first round that I would lose and stay healthy I would have signed that straight away. "This is a big comeback for me. Even though I lost today this was a great match for me. Of course there's still room to improve. Right now I just need a court, an umpire and four balls and I'm happy."
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