Re­turn­ing hero Mur­ray mas­ters Cilic, Nishikori wins

The Sun (Malaysia) - - SPORTS -

IF Andy Mur­ray (left) was grate­ful to Marin Cilic for fa­cil­i­tat­ing his rise to the sum­mit this month it was not ev­i­dent as he added the Croa­t­ian to his length­en­ing list of vic­tims at the ATP World Tour Fi­nals yes­ter­day.

It was Cilic’s de­feat of No­vak Djokovic at the Paris Mas­ters that opened the door for Mur­ray to seize the No. 1 rank­ing he had spent his whole ca­reer pur­su­ing.

Mur­ray re­paid the favour with a 6-3 6-2 win – his 20th in suc­ces­sion – al­though it was far from a drub­bing as Cilic tried his ut­most to ruin the Scot’s home­com­ing.

Mur­ray had lost his most re­cent meet­ing with Cilic, the Cincin­nati Mas­ters fi­nal in Au­gust, and to­day he will face Ja­pan’s Kei Nishikori who stopped him in the US Open quar­ter­fi­nals – Mur­ray’s last de­feat.

Nishikori had ear­lier beaten Swiss Stan Wawrinka 6-2 6-3 in the John McEn­roe group – al­though that match was as one-sided as the score­line sug­gested with Wawrinka badly off key.

Mur­ray has been handed a tougher-look­ing group than No­vak Djokovic, the man he de­posed and who could still snatch back the top rank­ing, but he cleared the first hur­dle in style in front of a near full house who wel­comed him home like a re­turn­ing hero.

“It was a great re­cep­tion,” Mur­ray, Bri­tain’s first ATP sin­gles world No. 1, told re­porters.

“Af­ter a long few months, it’s nice to know that I’m go­ing to be fin­ish­ing the year play­ing in that sort of at­mo­sphere. It helps you get up for the matches a bit more.” – AFP

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