Mur­ray moves closer to top spot

Jamaica Gleaner - - SPORTS -

ANDY MUR­RAY closed in on the No. 1 rank­ing by win­ning his third straight ATP ti­tle at the Erste Bank Open yes­ter­day.

The Scot can over­take No­vak Djokovic atop the ATP rank­ings next week if he wins the Paris Masters and the Serb doesn’t reach the fi­nal.

“I get a step closer with ev­ery win, but it’s still a long way from here,” Mur­ray said. “From two to one seems a small jump in a way, but it’s the hard­est one to make. To go from 100 to 50 is more spots, but is a lot eas­ier.”

In yes­ter­day’s fi­nal, Mur­ray de­feated Jo-Wil­fried Tsonga 6-3, 7-6 (6) for his per­sonal-best sev­enth ti­tle of the sea­son, and 42nd over­all. Djokovic has also won seven events this year.

“I was think­ing more about how you are go­ing to win the match rather than what it would mean if you did win it. But ob­vi­ously, it’s nice to win my sev­enth tour­na­ment,” Mur­ray said. “A lot of them have come in the last few months. Af­ter the Aus­tralian Open, I strug­gled a lit­tle bit for a cou­ple of months, but the last few months have been very good.”

Mur­ray ex­tended his un­beaten streak to 15 matches af­ter also win­ning in Bei­jing and Shang­hai.

“I think I played my best ten­nis of the tour­na­ment to­day. That’s pleas­ing, ob­vi­ously, as you want to im­prove as an event goes on,” he said.

The 15th-ranked Tsonga, who was the 2011 cham­pion, ap­peared in his first fi­nal of the sea­son, which has been marred by ad­duc­tor and left knee in­juries.

GREAT WEEK

“It was a pos­i­tive week for me. It was very good to be in the fi­nal,” Tsonga said. “I played good ten­nis. It was nice to play five matches in a row. It hasn’t hap­pened many times these last cou­ple of months.”

Mur­ray ad­vanced to the fi­nal af­ter de­fend­ing cham­pion David Fer­rer pulled out with a left leg in­jury, while Tsonga saved a match point in his 2 1/2-hour semi-fi­nal against Ivo Karlovic on Satur­day.

Mur­ray, who also won in Vi­enna on his only pre­vi­ous visit in 2014, dom­i­nated yes­ter­day’s fi­nal from the start. He raced into a 3-0 lead by tak­ing 14 of the first 19 points of the match.

He avoided break points in his games, and missed a set point on the French­man’s serve at 5-2 but clinched the open­ing set the next game with his sec­ond ace.

Mur­ray con­ceded just two points on his way to a 2-0 lead in the sec­ond set. but started to strug­gle with his first serve as his per­cent­age dropped to 18 half­way through the sec­ond set.

He hit a fore­hand long on the only break point for Tsonga to help the French­man level at 4-4.

Mur­ray missed his first match point in the tiebreaker as he net­ted a fore­hand re­turn, but closed out the win on his sec­ond chance with an ace.

Andy Mur­ray re­acts dur­ing the fi­nal match against Jo-Wil­fried Tsonga at the Erste Bank Open ten­nis tour­na­ment in Vi­enna, Aus­tria, yes­ter­day. Mur­ray won 6-3, 7-6 (6).

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