Dubai champion Murray aiming to maintain momentum in USA

"I'll probably never play another tie-break like that again", Murray said of the 31-minute breaker.

"I played nearly a flawless match", Verdasco said. I maybe haven't started as well as I would have liked but it's been a good start to the year.

"Once I got going, today, I was moving well and finished strong".

"It's very special to win my first title here".

The ATP said the 20-18 tiebreaker was the sixth on tour since 1991. There have been no others with more points.

Murray's miraculous escape in the second set proved too much for Kohlschreiber to recover from, with the relieved British star making short work of the third set to reach the semi-finals.

While he went down in the Qatar Open final against Novak Djokovic in January, the in-form player suffered a fourth-round shock exit at the Australian Open, losing a four-setter to Mischa Zverev.

Victory also takes Murray's head-to-head record against Verdasco to 13-1.

On top of that, Verdasco spends a lot of his matches given away a lot of cheap points, which leads to a lot of easy games being gifted to his opponents. Pouille looked formidable when he could dictate with his forehand shot, but Murray, like all the great players tend to do, found a way to eliminate that shot from the equation and concentrated on beating down the backhand shot of Pouille.

In the seventh final in his last eight events, the Scot won 6-3, 6-2 without really breaking a sweat to cement his status as world No. 1.

The match had been a tough one for Murray until the final set.

The 33-year-old Verdasco has won just a single match in his career against Murray. I know that it's Nadal, but whatever decisions they have to make, it's their decision. Verdasco clinched the second one only to lose his own serve at love in the next game.

And so it continued, with more errors from Murray and a third straight break, before Verdasco settled briefly into his rhythm with a cracking backhand victor and hold with a 130mph ace.

  • Julie Sanders