Unforced errors and missed opportunities followed by stunning resilience are all part of the package with Andy Murray, and it was his composure under pressure that saw the Scot finally win his first title of the year at the Shenzhen Open in China on Sunday.
The 27-year-old was forced to fight back from four match points down against Spaniard Tommy Robredo in the second set tie-break, before saving a fifth match point and eventually winning the set and the match 5-7, 7-6 (11-9), 6-1.
There have been many disappointments for the two-time Grand Slam winner since winning Wimbledon last year, not making the final of any event before the tournament in China since then.
It is for this reason that it was vital he claimed victory in his last outdoor event of the year, because if he had not been able to meet his expectations and win a tournament where he has not had to face a top 20 player, then it would have been the final nail in the coffin for what has been a poor year by his standards.
Robredo, who beat world number one Novak Djokovic at the Cincinnati Masters in August, seemed to play with more energy than the Briton for the first two sets, which seemed to dissipate along with his confidence in the decider.
Murray is frantically trying to put as many ranking points together as possible to qualify for the ATP World Tour Finals in London in November, and moving back into the top 10 of the rankings with his victory on Sunday is a starting point to recovering the form that saw him reach as high as second in 2009 and 2013.
If there will be anybody keeping their feet on the ground after this satisfactory performance, it will be Murray himself. The Dunblane-born player will know that he under-performed in the first two sets and desperately needs to find more consistency if he is to compete for major honours.
Seven double faults, as well as failing to convert two set points from 15-40 on Robredo’s serve at 4-5 in the second set are other things to be wary of, but given the situation he was in, his win will rank close to his fourth round triumph over Jo-Wilfried Tsonga at the US Open as his most satisfying win of the year.
He is clearly not out of the woods yet, and there is still a lot to do for him to qualify for the Tour Finals, and whether he will be able to win in Beijing next week in a tournament with the likes of Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal is a different matter.
But regardless of whether Murray adding the Shenzhen Open to his schedule pays dividends, it has proved to be the right decision, and it could be seen as the starting point on his road to recovery.
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