Britain's Andy Murray hopes his Qatar Open victory will clear a path through a potentially hazardous Australian Open seedings minefield.
The 20-year-old Murray, the world number 11, defeated Switzerland's Stanislas Wawrinka 6-4, 4-6, 6-2 to claim his fourth career title on Saturday and now hopes his efforts will guarantee him a place in the top 12 seedings at the year's first Grand Slam event.
"It was important for me to make the final here so I get seeded in the top 12 because if you're ranked between 13 and 16, you get drawn to play the top four seeds in the fourth round of the Australian Open," said the Scot.
"That's obviously not the best place to play Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Nikolay Davydenko or Andy Roddick.
"They're really tough players, so by winning here my ranking will move up a bit and I'll have a slightly better draw in Melbourne, hopefully."
Murray enjoyed a memorable Australian Open in 2007 where he reached the fourth round only to lose to world number two Nadal in a five-set thriller.
His season was then interrupted by a wrist injury which ruled him out of Wimbledon and kept him off the tour for three months.
But he said he has worked on his fitness over the winter and hopes to see the sacrifices pay off in 2008 where, following the retirement of Tim Henman, he will shoulder a lonely burden as Britain's only top 100 player.
"I worked really hard in the off-season, on my fitness and on my tennis," said Murray.
"It's the hardest I've ever worked in my life so I'm happy it paid off this week. I'm going to be out on the track on Sunday morning before I go to Melbourne and I'm going to make sure that I get some good fitness work done before the Australian Open starts."