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Andy Murray is in great shape for Australia Open bid

By Pat Smith

Andy Murray remained upbeat despite Great Britain being denied a place in the Hopman Cup final as Australia edged out France in a tense finish.

Murray feels the Hopman Cup in Perth has been ideal preparation for the Australian Open, which starts in Melbourne on January 18.

"It's great to get matches in," said Murray. "It is nice to play during the day to get used to the hot weather."

The British team of Murray and Heather Watson had put pressure on Australia by beating Germany 3-0.

That meant the Australian duo of Nick Kyrgios and Daria Gavrilova needed to beat France to secure their place in the final.

Kyrgios comfortably defeated Kenny De Schepper but Gavrilova lost to Caroline Garcia and the mixed doubles went to a deciding match tie-break.

It was close all the way through but Gavrilova pulled off a brilliant volley to save a French match point at 9-8 and they won three points in a row to clinch victory.

Their 11-9 success was a repeat of the deciding tie-break they won against Britain on Wednesday, which ultimately proved the difference between the sides.

Nevertheless, the performance of Murray and Watson against Germany saw them finish the tournament on a positive note.

Watson had impressed in beating Gavrilova on Wednesday and claimed a notable scalp with a 6-3 6-4 win over former Wimbledon finalist Sabine Lisicki.Murray then saw off highly-rated teen Alexander Zverev 6-3 6-4.

The British pair went on to win the mixed doubles by the same 6-3 6-4 scoreline.

Murray will now head to Melbourne to prepare for the Australian Open while Watson flies to Tasmania to defend her second WTA Tour title in Hobart.

An Australian team will play in the Hopman Cup final for the first time in 13 years, with Kyrgios and Gavrilova set to take on the Ukrainian pairing of Alexandr Dolgopolov and Elina Svitolina.

Belfast Telegraph

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