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Murray sails to victory

Abu Dhabi: Andy Murray defeated Stanislas Wawrinka in straight sets in the fifth-place play-off at the Mubadala World Tennis Championship, in Abu Dhabi, to win his first competitive match since returning from back surgery.

The Wimbledon champion looked pretty sharp as he saw off world No. 8 Wawrinka 6-3, 6-4. Murray had opened his season on Boxing Day with a defeat to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in his first proper match since helping Britain beat Croatia to reach the Davis Cup World Group in September.

He had a minor operation on a long-standing back problem later that month, bringing an early end to his season.

After training hard in Miami over the past six weeks, Murray was happy with his fitness against Tsonga and he looked to have shaken off some of the rust when he faced Wawrinka.

The world No. 4 got the better of three successive breaks to take the first set and then forged ahead again with a break for 4-3 in the second.

Wawrinka saved a match point on his own serve with a forehand winner but Murray confidently served out the victory and then declared himself pleased with the way his back has responded to playing matches again. “I feel pretty good, a lot better than I did a few months ago. I just need to play more matches like this because the intensity’s a lot higher than you can get in practice.

Meanwhile, in the first semi-final, David Ferrer overcame Nadal 6-4, 6-4, after breaking the 10th game of each set to progress to Saturday’s final.

“It was a good match and I hope the people enjoyed it,” Ferrer said. “I had the edge because I had a match yesterday to get warmed up.”