World No 1 Andy Murray could be on his way to clinching his maiden tennis crown of the calendar year 2017, if he manages to keep Fernando Verdasco at bay. The Britain-Spain battle renews on Saturday in the final of the ATP World Tour Dubai.
Murray, 29, suffered a shock exit at the hands of Mischa Zverev in the Australian Open 2017 but that setback has possibly given a renewed vigour to the World No 1 to take his game to the next level.
In the ATP World Tour Dubai 2017, Murray dropped a set just once in his four matches this tournament and that says a lot about his hunger. This tournament also marked the shock exit of Australian Open 2017 champion Roger Federer at the hands of Evgeny Donskoy.
Verdasco, 33, meanwhile, lost two sets in his four matches at the ATP Dubai 2017, and he has also beaten another tournament favourite Gael Monfils during his run.
The Spaniard, currently ranked 35 in the world, beat Murray at the Australian Open 2009. "He's had a pretty good start to the year," Murray said of Verdasco. "Obviously this week he's had some good wins. I think where the balls are fairly heavy here on a quick court he can generate a lot of power, he can control the ball.
"And when he's dictating the points, he's one of the best in the world at doing that."
Total meetings: 14
Murray won: 12
Verdasco won: 2
Date: March 4
Time: Around 8:30 pm IST (3 pm GMT)
Venue: Aviation Club Tennis Centre, Dubai
Where to watch live
India: TV - Sony ESPN, Sony ESPN HD.
UK: TV - BT Sport. Live streaming - BT Sport Live.
Live scores: ATP website.