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Only title on Andy Murray's mind is Australian Open

By Sam Wilson

The only title Andy Murray wants to hear called out at Melbourne Park is Australian Open champion.

The World No.1 will gun for his first Major victory on Australian soil since receiving his knighthood in the New Year's honours list as top seed for the first time. The Scotsman has reached the final five times since 2010 without success.

Despite the new honour, Murray doesn't want to be referred by anything different by opponents, fans or broadcasters.

"Andy is better for me than Sir Andy," he said.

The 29-year-old was recognised for a stunning 2016 that included claiming the top ranking, an Olympic gold medal in Rio, a Wimbledon title and appearances in the Australian and French Open finals.

"It was a really nice way to finish last year but it still obviously feels a bit strange to hear as I still feel very young for something like that," Murray said.

The Wimbledon champion also believes that Aussie hope Nick Kyrgios can make an impact at the Aussie Open and beyond - as long as he stays focused on the court.

"I think in terms of how far he can go as a player it's really up to him," Murray said.

"He's got a great game and he's a good athlete. He's a smart player on the court when he's focused and I think maybe he doesn't get enough credit for that because when his mind's on the game he's a very intelligent player.

"He just needs to find that consistency and be a bit more focused though the year."

Meanwhile, Dan Evans claimed his first victory against a top-10 player while Johanna Konta reached the women's final on a brilliant night for British tennis at the Apia International in Sydney.

Konta has not dropped a set at the tournament so far and was at her aggressive best in a 6-2 6-2 victory over Eugenie Bouchard, in the last match of the evening session.

From 2-2 in the opening set, the World No.10 won seven games in a row and will face second seed Agnieszka Radwanska in the final.

It will be Konta's third WTA Tour final. She won her first title in Stanford last summer and then lost to Radwanska in Beijing in October.

This week's run is yet another demonstration that Konta fully deserves her top-10 place and she goes into the Australian Open, where she reached the semi-finals 12 months ago, as a title contender.

Konta said on court: "Dan Evans started it off and I'm happy I was able to bring it home."

Of facing World No.3 Radwanska, the British No.1 said: "She's been one of the best players for as long as I can remember.

"I played her twice before, lost twice, so hopefully I'll do a better job tomorrow. I'm looking forward to the challenge."

Statistically the best win of Evans' career came in the quarter-finals against World No.8 Dominic Thiem.

The British No.3 was out-hit in the first set but turned things around in the second and dominated the decider to win 3-6 6-4 6-1.

Belfast Telegraph

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