Andy Murray strolls to Dubai triumph
Andy Murray consolidated his position at the top of the rankings through a 6-3, 6-2 defeat of Fernando Verdasco to win the Dubai Tennis Championships for the first time on Saturday.
Murray, 29, claimed the trophy in the emirate after finishing runner-up to Roger Federer in 2012.
Now the Scot and his team face a 16-hour flight halfway around the world to Los Angeles to prepare for the start of the Indian Wells Masters in less than a week.
"It's direct but it's still a long flight, it will take a few days to get over that," said Murray after claiming his 45th career title.
"This week has given me great momentum which I hope to use going to Indian Wells and Miami."
Murray's win on Saturday allowed him to become the first British champion in the 25-year history of the Dubai tournament.
He was playing in his seventh final in his last eight tournaments and 14th final in his last 16 events.
He holds a healthy points lead over world No. 2 Novak Djokovoic, with the off-form Serb facing immense title-defence pressure in both Indian Wells and Miami over the next four weeks.
The Scot is amazed at his winning form stretching back to last autumn, when he made his run to surpass Djokovic for the top ranking position.
"It's obviously been a good run. You want to try and peak and play your best tennis at the Slams, but you know, giving yourself a lot of matches gives you confidence to go into those big events.
"Conditions, again, are totally different than Indian Wells, which is a very slow court with fast balls - the other way around from here.
"I have to get there and adjust to that. Winning this week is fantastic, I feel good. I was a bit tired yesterday, but I felt a lot better today.
"I'm trying to get to Indian Wells much earlier than I did last year. I'll arrive on Sunday, which is a good thing.
"Even though it's a long trip, it gives me five, six days to get ready before my first match."
Murray improved his record over 35th-ranked left-hander Verdasco to 13 wins and just one loss.
He was playing in his second final of 2017 after losing to Djokovic in nearby Doha during the opening week of the season in January.
The first three games of the contest featured breaks of serve before Murray steadied, breaking for 5-3 and taking the opening set.
In the second, Murray earned a 2-1 lead as he eased to victory.
Despite his defeat, Verdasco will return to the top 30 for the first time since April 2015 thanks to his run to the final.
"I think that obviously I had, if not the toughest opponent I can have in the final, then one of them, for sure," said Verdasco.
"He's No. 1 in the world right now. It was obviously a really difficult final to win, but I came trying everything and giving everything.
"I said yesterday that being in the final of a 500 after five years is a great week for me and I have to take the positive things." - AFP