Murray ready to defend title
Andy Murray believes he is ready to defend his Brisbane International title after an injury to Kei Nishikori handed him a place in Sunday's final.
Murray, the top seed, was in control of the last-four clash at 6-4 2-0 ahead when Nishikori was forced to retire with a knee problem. While the US Open champion may have perhaps preferred a full match, as he prepares for the start of the Australian Open in nine days' time, he will now meet first-time finalist Grigor Dimitrov.
Murray beat the up-and-coming Bulgarian in their only previous meeting in Bangkok last year and said: "I've served pretty well for the majority of the tournament and I've moved better every single match."
He added: "Grigor plays with a lot of variety and he can play a lot of shots. He's one of the few guys coming through with a single-handed backhand as well, so he uses a lot more slice."
Murray admitted, however, that he was wary of Dimitrov after he beat former Australian Open finalist Marcos Baghdatis 6-3 5-7 7-6 (7/5) to reach the final. The 21-year-old represents a breed of young players beginning to make their mark and has already accounted for fellow rising star Milos Raonic and Jurgen Melzer this week.
"From my point of view I hope there isn't a few coming through because then it means I'll be one of the ones losing out on my spot," world number three Murray said. "I have no idea whether he'll be nervous tomorrow or he'll enjoy the occasion. We'll find out. Everyone deals with certain situations differently."
Murray was a break down in the first set on Saturday but won five games in a row seal it against his fifth-seeded Japanese opponent. Nishikori took a medical timeout at the end of the set, but took to the court for the start of the second.
Murray broke in the first game, however, and backed it up by holding his service game, at which point Nishikori decided enough was enough.
"I felt it yesterday against Dolgopolov and then this morning it was worse, but I decided to play," Nishikori said. "I didn't want to risk too much and so I decided to retire.
"I saw the doctor now and he said it's not a big thing. There's a bit of tendinitis and the patella is hurting, but just to take a couple of days off for a bit of treatment and hopefully it gets better."
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