Andy Murray's new year got off to the best possible start, as he trounced Alexandr Dolgopolov 6-1 6-3 in just 67 minutes in the final of the Brisbane International, to collect his 22nd ATP tour title.
Although Dolgopolov was dogged by a groin injury, this was a solid display right from the off, with the world number four outrunning, outhitting and outfoxing the Ukrainian in a clinical display of power tennis.
Murray, whose serve was superb throughout, declared his intentions from the first game, with a solid opener that concluded with an ace. Although Dolgopolov levelled in the next game, the Scot then reeled off nine straight games in brutal fashion. Up in the stands, new coach Lendl's grin was suitably wry.
The world number 15 sealed a service break at 1-4 in the second set with a stunning forehand and then held for 3-4, but Murray simply moved matters up a gear to crush not only his opponent's game, but his spirit.
Dolgopolov later explained that he'd been unable to push off on his right leg, and a gracious Murray was quick to recognise the fact. He said, "I'd like to say sorry to Alex; he had a problem with his leg."Read more (141 words)
The injury predictably resulted in some points-shortening tennis from the Ukrainian, which Murray also acknowledged. The Scot said, "He was just going for his shots [and] hit quite a few winners but I didn’t let it get to me. I felt like I was moving well right at the end of the week."
Of little interest to Murray will be the prize money – $74,370 – and the 250 South African Airways 2012 ATP ranking points, which won't register against his rolling total, thanks to the esoteric ATP system.
Instead, the Scot will reflect on his fine serving this week, his improved mental strength and his pitiless crushing of hapless opponents. Up in the stands, his new coach's memory could be forgiven for drifting back 25 years, although his focus will be locked solely on what promises to be a fascinating Australian Open.