Mur­ray gal­lops to­wards top rank­ing

The Sun (Malaysia) - - SPORTS -

ANDY MUR­RAY de­mol­ished Roberto Bautista 7-6 (7/1), 6-1 to win the Shang­hai Masters with­out drop­ping a set yes­ter­day, edg­ing closer to No­vak Djokovic’s world No. 1 rank­ing.

The Wim­ble­don and Olympic cham­pion won seven points in a row in the first-set tie-breaker and broke Bautista three times in the sec­ond set to lift his third Shang­hai ti­tle.

Sec­ond-ranked Mur­ray is now on a 10-match 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, Mur­ray slashes the gap on slump­ing world No. 1 Djokovic, who was shocked by Spain’s Bautista in the semis, to just 915 rank­ing points.

“The last few months I’ve played very well in all of the tour­na­ments and ob­vi­ously I’m happy to be back in the fi­nal again here,” the 2010 and 2011 cham­pion told the crowd, as cel­e­bra­tory gold glit­ter rained down on the Qi Zhong Sta­dium.

Ni n e t e e n t h - r a n k e d Bautista, who was play­ing his first Masters fi­nal, said Mur­ray’s am­bi­tion was ob­vi­ous.

“I think I can see it in his eyes. He’s re­ally fo­cused on get­ting No. 1,” the Spa­niard said.

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. – AFP

Mid­dles­brough’s Chris­tian Stu­ani (L) tack­les Wat­ford’s José Hole­bas (R) for the ball dur­ing their English Premier League match at River­side Sta­dium in Mid­dles­brough yes­ter­day. –

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