Mur­ray in a hurry to keep up with brother

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

It was quite a cou­ple of hours for the Mur­ray brothers at the ATP World Tour Fi­nals on Fri­day.

Younger sibling Andy crushed Switzer­land’s world num­ber three Stan Wawrinka 6-4 6-2 to top his group and stay on course for a sea­son-end­ing fi­nale against No­vak Djokovic.

Shortly be­fore tak­ing to the O2 Arena court, it was also con­firmed that Jamie Mur­ray and Brazil­ian part­ner Bruno Soares would end the year as the world’s top-ranked duo, courtesy of a de­feat for ri­vals Ni­co­las Mahut and Pierre-Hugues Her­bert. Jamie has made a habit of beat­ing his higher-pro­file brother to mile­stones. He won a grand slam ti­tle-the 2007 Wim­ble­don mixed dou­bles-five years be­fore Andy won the US Open. Jamie reached num­ber one in the ATP dou­bles rank­ings in April, seven months be­fore Andy hit the sin­gles sum­mit.

Now he has clinched the year-end top spot for the first time with Soares, a few days be­fore Andy can match him and con­firm he is the top dog in men’s tennis.

Jamie could also beat his brother to the ATP World Tour ti­tle as the dou­bles final on Sun­day is the warm-up act for the sin­gles. “Re­gard­less of what hap­pens over the week­end, we can look back on this year and be very proud of what we’ve done as a fam­ily,” said triple grand slam cham­pion Andy.

It looks odds-on that Mur­ray ju­nior will meet Serb Djokovic in the final when not just the ti­tle but the year-end num­ber one rank­ing would be up for grabs.

Djokovic, who faces Kei Nishikori in his semi-final on Satur­day, cranked up the pres­sure on Thurs­day by trounc­ing David Gof­fin in his final group match, edg­ing just ahead of Mur­ray on points.

Mur­ray faced a far trick­ier task against U.S. Open cham­pion Wawrinka. Af­ter weath­er­ing an early storm, he won with some­thing to spare to ex­tend his win­ning streak to 22 matches and set up a semi-final against Cana­dian Mi­los Raonic.

A straight-sets de­feat could have elim­i­nated Mur­ray and he knew that sim­ply win­ning a set would earn a semi-final spot.


Wawrinka, still har­bour­ing hopes of reach­ing the semis for a fourth year run­ning, be­gan ag­gres­sively but a net­ted vol­ley in the sev­enth game handed Mur­ray the first break.

The Scot failed to con­vert three set points at 5-3 but was dom­i­nat­ing the match by then and held in the next game. Af­ter spend­ing three hours 20 min­utes grind­ing past Nishikori on Wed­nes­day, Mur­ray was not keen on more over­time and broke twice to romp through the sec­ond set-Wawrinka man­gling two rack­ets as his hopes faded.

“The first set was tight, there weren’t many chances,” he said. “The sec­ond I had al­ready qual­i­fied and Stan needed to win so it was a bit eas­ier for me to play freely.” Mur­ray’s win­ning streak equals his run ear­lier this year. Two more vic­to­ries would de­liver his maiden ATP World Tour Fi­nals ti­tle while de­priv­ing Djokovic of a sixth, and the sea­son-end­ing top spot.

First, he must get past Raonic for the third time in a ma­jor clash in Lon­don this year, hav­ing beaten him in the final at both Queen’s Club and Wim­ble­don in the sum­mer. “I’m cer­tainly not tak­ing any­thing for granted. I know it will be hard,” said Mur­ray whose bril­liant late-sea­son run has landed him four con­sec­u­tive ti­tles. Round robin play con­cluded later as al­ready-elim­i­nated Croa­t­ian Marin Cilic warmed up for next week’s Davis Cup final against Ar­gentina by beat­ing a tir­ing Nishikori 3-6 6-2 6-3. It was his first win in six matches at the tour­na­ment and the 200 rank­ing points he earned means he will move above Gael Mon­fils to a ca­reer-high six. — Reuters

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