ANDY Murray admitted to mixed feelings after clinching the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament title in Rotterdam with a 6-3, 4-6, 6-0 win over world No 1 Rafael Nadal.
The Scot put in a solid display to earn his second ATP title of the year, but his cause was helped by a knee injury Nadal suffered during the match.
The 22-year-old Spaniard had to receive treatment to his right knee after the third game in the second set, which included seven service breaks. Murray was happy to have defeated the world No 1 for the second time this year, but said he would have liked to have beaten a fully-fit Nadal.
"It is a shame for him after he injured his knee at the start of the second set. The play was up to a good standard in the first set," reflected Murray. "I'm happy to win, but I would have preferred it if he wasn't hurt.
"I have started well this year. I would have liked to have done better in the Australian Open (he lost in the fourth round], but I got better here as the week went on and I'll try and keep it going now."
Nadal soldiered on to take the second set, but his injury caused him to struggle with his serve before capitulating in the third.
Murray admitted he still found it hard going despite his opponent's injury, struggling as he was with an ankle injury of his own sustained in the quarter-final victory over Marc Gicquel.
"It was tough in the second set. He was still managing to beat me on one leg, " the world No 4 added. "He was hitting his serve at 150 kilometres per hour, which is obviously very slow for him, but he was still hitting his groundstrokes very hard. He was still managing to generate some pace despite the injury.
"He's obviously started the season right with the win at the Australian Open and he'll go on to bigger and better things in the year."
Murray's own foot injury has forced him to withdraw from the defence of his Marseille Open title next week, but he is hopeful he could recover soon. "I can still feel it, it's pretty swollen, but the physio did a very good job in keeping it under control," he said. "There's still clicking and cracking down there, but I'm hoping it will be gone in three or four days."
Nadal, meanwhile, hailed Murray's performance. "It was a very important week for me, but Andy has had a wonderful year and I would like to congratulate him," the six-time grand slam winner said.
Murray advanced to the final with a 6-1, 6-1 win over Mario Ancic of Croatia on Saturday.
Despite nursing his injury, Murray dispatched two-time ABN Amro champion Ancic in just over an hour.
In California, Radek Stepanek beat the top seed and defending champion Andy Roddick 3-6, 7-6, 6-4 to reach the San Jose Open final. The world number 21, who lost to Roddick in last year's final, was last night due to meet another American, Mardy Fish, in the title decider.
Fish saw off compatriot and doubles partner James Blake 6-3, 6-2 in his semi-final.
On the WTA Tour, local favourite Amelie Mauresmo confirmed her return to form when she beat Russian third seed Elena Dementieva 7-6, 2-6, 6-4 to win her third Paris Open title.
The Frenchwoman, who dropped to 24th in the WTA rankings after reaching top spot in 2004, ended a two hour, 38-minute contest on her second match point. "I have had hard times. I did some soul searching by the end of last year and there is a new dynamic, a good preparation during the winter," said Mauresmo, who had not won a tournament since taking the Antwerp Diamond Games in 2007.
Russian top seed and world No 5 Vera Zvonareva overcame a tough challenge from battling Indian Sania Mirza to win the Pattaya Open final 7-5, 6-1 in Bangkik.
Meanwhile, the United Arab Emirates has refused to grant a visa to Israeli player Shahar Peer to take part in a $2 million tennis tournament in Dubai this week.
"We are deeply disappointed by the decision of the United Arab Emirates denying Shahar Peer a visa that would permit her to enter the country to play in the Dubai Tennis Championships," said WTA Tour chief executive Larry Scott.
The board of directors will now meet to discuss the future of the Dubai tournament. WTA rules insist that any player should be allowed to play at any event on the tour.
The Dubai Tennis Championship is one of the WTA Tour's most prestigious events and this week features every player from the world's top ten except the injured Nadia Petrova. But like most Arab countries, the UAE has no diplomatic ties with the Jewish state and Israelis are routinely denied entry.