Mur­ray beats Djokovic´, ends year on top

Jamaica Gleaner - - SPORTS -

WITH­OUT A doubt, Andy Mur­ray will be the No. 1 player in the world for the rest of the year.

The Wim­ble­don cham­pion needed to win the fi­nal match of the sea­son to en­sure his place at the top. And he did it, rather eas­ily.

Mur­ray beat No­vak Djokovic´ 6-3, 6-4 yes­ter­day to earn his first ti­tle at the ATP fi­nals, and make sure he re­mained No. 1 un­til next sea­son.

“I would like to try and stay there, ob­vi­ously. It’s taken a huge ef­fort the last five, six months to get there,” said Mur­ray, who took over the top rank­ing two weeks ago and has now won 24 straight matches.

“I’m aware that’s go­ing to be ex­tremely dif­fi­cult be­cause I had a great year this year. I only man­aged to do it by one match.”

Mur­ray re­placed Djokovic´as the top-ranked player in Paris, but the sec­ond-ranked Serb could have re­gained the No. 1 po­si­tion by win­ning yes­ter­day at the O2 Arena.

And Mur­ray seemed vul­ner­a­ble head­ing into the fi­nal, es­pe­cially af­ter play­ing three sets against Mi­los Raonic in Satur­day’s semi­fi­nals. He started against Djokovic´with a pair of dou­ble­faults in the open­ing game, but it

was soon his op­po­nent that was strug­gling with his serve as the un­forced er­rors piled up.

“There was no se­ri­ous chance for me to win to­day’s match,” Djokovic´said. “From the very be­gin­ning, we could

see that. He was just a bet­ter player all in all.”

Nor­mally so steady with his ground­strokes, Djokovic´found him­self miss­ing easy shots time af­ter time, fin­ish­ing the match with a whop­ping 30 un­forced er­rors and only 13 win­ners. Mur­ray had 15 un­forced er­rors and 13 win­ners.

In the first set, Djokovic´had a rou­tine smash that he whacked wide. And in the sec­ond, he net­ted a ba­sic fore­hand vol­ley.

It never got much bet­ter for the 12-time Grand Slam cham­pion, who was try­ing to win a record-ty­ing sixth ti­tle at the sea­son-end­ing tour­na­ment and fin­ish the year as the top-ranked player for the fifth time.

TOP SPOT

Mur­ray is the first man other than Djokovic´, Roger Fed­erer or Rafael Nadal to fin­ish the year as the No. 1-ranked player since Andy Rod­dick in 2003.

He took over the top spot on Novem­ber 7 af­ter win­ning his eighth ti­tle of the sea­son at the Paris Mas­ters. He also reached the Aus­tralian Open and French Open fi­nals, los­ing to Djokovic on both oc­ca­sions, but won his sec­ond straight Olympic gold medal in sin­gles at the Rio de Janeiro Games af­ter claim­ing his sec­ond Wim­ble­don ti­tle.

Yes­ter­day, he capped a long stretch of play­ing some of the best ten­nis of his life, and the best ten­nis in the world.

AP

Andy Mur­ray plays a re­turn to No­vak Djokovic´ dur­ing their ATP World Tour Fi­nals sin­gles fi­nal ten­nis match at the O2 Arena in Lon­don, yes­ter­day. Mur­ray won 6-3, 6-4 to se­cure his num­ber 1 rank­ing.

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