Shang­hai knight Mur­ray gal­lops to top rank­ing

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

Andy Mur­ray de­mol­ished Roberto Bautista to win the Shang­hai Mas­ters with­out drop­ping a set as he edged closer to No­vak Djokovic’s world num­ber one rank­ing yes­ter­day. The Wim­ble­don and Olympic cham­pion won seven points in a row in the first-set tiebreak and he broke Bautista three times in the sec­ond to win his third Shang­hai ti­tle 7-6 (7/1), 6-1.

The ram­pant Mur­ray is now on a 10match win­ning streak in which he has won 20 straight sets, in­clud­ing last week’s sim­i­larly im­pres­sive vic­tory at the China Open in Beijing. But most im­por­tantly, the world num­ber two slashes the gap to just 915 points from the out-of-sorts Djokovic, who was shocked by Spain’s Bautista in the semis.

“I be­lieve I can get there. I def­i­nitely be­lieve I can get there. Th­ese last few months have proved that to me,” Mur­ray said of the top rank­ing. “I may never get an­other chance to be num­ber one, so I’ll give it my best shot to do that while I have the op­por­tu­nity.”

Nine­teenth-ranked Bautista, who was play­ing his first Mas­ters fi­nal, said it was clear how much Mur­ray wanted to se­cure the top spot. “I think I can see it in his eyes. He’s re­ally fo­cused on getting num­ber one,” the Spa­niard said.

Mur­ray’s first serve of the match was a thump­ing ace and he took a grip on the open­ing set at 3-3 when Bautista net­ted a back­hand to lose the first break point of the match. But Mur­ray, serv­ing at 5-4, lost three set points and got in a tan­gle on a drop shot to hand Bautista his first break point, which he con­verted with a strong fore­hand. The Bri­ton slammed three con­sec­u­tive aces for 6-6 and he dom­i­nated the tie-break, reel­ing off seven points in a row and tak­ing the set with a siz­zling back­hand re­turn.

A string of Bautista er­rors put Mur­ray a break up at the start of set two, but to his ob­vi­ous frus­tra­tion he gave it straight back with a mis­cued fore­hand. But Bautista twice dou­ble-faulted to go a break down be­fore hand­ing over yet an­other break, mak­ing vic­tory a for­mal­ity for Mur­ray who tucked away his first cham­pi­onship point.

With his 41st tour­na­ment vic­tory and sixth this year, Mur­ray joins Ste­fan Ed­berg in joint 15th place on the list of Open-era ti­tle win­ners. Of greater con­cern will be his place in the rank­ings as he draws ever closer to the im­plod­ing Djokovic, who has hit a rocky patch after a pe­riod of sus­tained dom­i­nance.

“I will try and fin­ish this year as strong as I can. And next year if the op­por­tu­nity is there to reach num­ber one, then I want to try and take it,” Mur­ray said.

“But it’s not go­ing to be easy be­cause No­vak plays great ten­nis in­doors, and also his record at the be­gin­ning of the year is phe­nom­e­nal in Aus­tralia and In­dian Wells, Mi­ami. “It’s go­ing to be a tough thing to achieve that. I’m aware of that. I’m clo­seish right now, but it’s go­ing to be re­ally tough still.”

— AFP

SHANG­HAI: Andy Mur­ray of Bri­tain holds his tro­phy after win­ning his men’s sin­gles fi­nals match against Roberto Bautista Agut of Spain at the Shang­hai Mas­ters ten­nis tour­na­ment in Shang­hai yes­ter­day.

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