MUNICH: Andy Murray’s preparations for the French Open gathered momentum as he claimed his first clay court title with a 7-6(4), 5-7, 7-6(4) win over twice champion Philipp Kohlschreiber in the rain-delayed Munich Open final Monday.
The 27-year-old Briton kept his cool in the final that was suspended after only 23 minutes Sunday, winning the title in his maiden clay court final appearance.
It was the world No. 3’s first title as a married man and under the guidance of new coach Jonas Bjorkman, who fired him on from the stands.
“This was my first final on clay and to come out and play a match like that, I am very pleased to have won,” Murray said in courtside interview before slipping into a traditional Bavarian Lederhose on center court in an amusing award ceremony.
“I had very few chances when I was returning. I was lucky to get a couple of good shots when I was behind in the tiebreak and hung on in the end.”
Asked why it took so long for him to win a title on clay and why Britons had not won on the surface in decades, Murray quipped: “It means we’re not very good on clay.” The Scot’s previous 31 titles had been won on hard courts, grass and carpet.
The pair had resumed their final with local favorite Kohlschreiber leading 3-2 in the first set and they both confidently held serve to go into the tiebreak.
Murray got the minibreak he needed and snatched the set after almost an hour.
Murray, leading 4-3 in the second set, had a golden opportunity to break Kohlschreiber with three break points but the German held his nerve and his serve to clinch the set to level the contest.
The pair traded blows in the third with both holding on to force another tiebreak.
Murray clinched victory on his second match point when Kohlschreiber, winner in Munich in 2007 and 2012, sent a backhand long after three hours, four minutes.
The French Open begins on May 24 in Paris.