Top-ranked Mur­ray takes Paris Masters ti­tle

Jamaica Gleaner - - SPORTS -

CEL­E­BRAT­ING THE best sea­son of his ca­reer, Andy Mur­ray ce­mented his rise to No. 1 by beat­ing John Is­ner 6-3, 6-7 (4), 6-4 yes­ter­day to win the Paris Masters for the first time.

It was his eighth ti­tle this year, his 14th in Masters over­all. It also ended Is­ner’s bid for a first Masters ti­tle.

“I felt re­ally ner­vous be­fore the match,” Mur­ray said, de­spite hav­ing beaten the big-serv­ing Amer­i­can in all seven of their previous ca­reer meet­ings.

Mur­ray will of­fi­cially re­place No­vak Djokovic´ at the top of the rank­ings when they are pub­lished to­day.

“It might only be for one week, so, I might as well try and en­joy it,” Mur­ray said, “be­cause I could lose it at the (ATP) Tour Fi­nals and never be there again.”

The 29-year-old Mur­ray is still get­ting ac­cus­tomed to his new-found sta­tus.

“I don’t re­ally know if it’s sunk in or not,” said Mur­ray, who is a three­time Grand Slam win­ner and a dou­ble Olympic cham­pion. “It feels dif­fer­ent (to) when I had won a Grand Slam or (the) Olympics,” es­pe­cially in the num­ber of con­grat­u­la­tory mes­sages.

“More than I’ve had af­ter any match I have played in my life,” Mur­ray said. “It’s very nice be­cause you have won the re­spect of the play­ers.”

Mur­ray re­cently beat Is­ner 6-1, 6-3 in the quar­ter-fi­nals of the Erste Bank Open in Vi­enna, but this was thor­oughly con­tested. “We played last week and the dif­fer­ence was huge,” Mur­ray said. Us­ing 18 aces and hit­ting plenty of in­side-out win­ners on his mas­sive fore­hand, Is­ner gen­er­ated con­sid­er­able pres­sure, but he also wasted six break points over­all.

RARE DIP

In the sec­ond set, he was 4-3 ahead and 40-0 up on Mur­ray’s serve but failed to pun­ish the Bri­ton – last year’s run­ner-up to Djokovic´.

But in a rare dip, Mur­ray dou­ble­faulted dur­ing the tiebreaker and Is­ner prof­ited to take the set.

Is­ner saved break points on his first two ser­vice games of the third set, hang­ing on as Mur­ray re­stored his su­pe­ri­or­ity.

Then, serv­ing to stay in the match, the Amer­i­can dou­ble-faulted to trail 0-30. He won a tough first point and then hit yet another ace to make it 3030.

Is­ner sank a dif­fi­cult vol­ley into the net, giv­ing Mur­ray a first-match point. With Is­ner on sec­ond serve, Mur­ray dom­i­nated a brief rally, ping­ing a pass down the line that Is­ner pat­ted into the net with the ball close to his body.

It was a hard-fought vic­tory and Is­ner stood with his head down at the net, wait­ing to con­grat­u­late Mur­ray.

Mur­ray has won four con­sec­u­tive tour­na­ments, tak­ing his ca­reer tally to 43.

Andy Mur­ray re­turns the ball to John Is­ner dur­ing the fi­nal of the Paris Masters ten­nis tour­na­ment at the Bercy Arena in Paris yes­ter­day. Mur­ray won 6-3, 6-7 (4), 6-4.

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