Mur­ray ends sea­son as No. 1, beats Djokovic at ATP fi­nals

Malta Independent - - SPORTS -

Andy Mur­ray earned the year-end No. 1 rank­ing and his first ti­tle at the ATP fi­nals yes­ter­day, beat­ing No­vak Djokovic 6-3, 6-4 in the last match of the ten­nis sea­son.

The Wim­ble­don cham­pion, who took over from Djokovic as the topranked player two weeks ago, needed to win yes­ter­day to en­sure he fin­ished the sea­son as the No. 1ranked player in the world for the first time.

Mur­ray started with a pair of dou­ble-faults in the open­ing game, but it was soon Djokovic that was strug­gling with his serve. The sec­on­dranked Serb was bro­ken once in the first set and twice in the sec­ond as the un­forced er­rors piled up.

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 record­ty­ing sixth ti­tle at the sea­son-end­ing tour­na­ment and fin­ish the year as the top-ranked player for the fifth time.

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

He took over the top spot on Nov. 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.

His vic­tory yes­ter­day was his 24th straight, and the first time he has beaten Djokovic in­doors af­ter four pre­vi­ous losses.

De­spite win­ning the open­ing two Grand Slam tour­na­ments this year, Djokovic has strug­gled in the sec­ond half of the sea­son. He lost to Sam Quer­rey in the third round at Wim­ble­don, end­ing a 30-match win­ning streak at ma­jor cham­pi­onships. He later lost to Stan Wawrinka in the US Open fi­nal.

Yes­ter­day's match was the first time since 2000 that the year-end No. 1 rank­ing was on the line in the fi­nal match of the sea­son. Six­teen years ago, Gus­tavo Kuerten beat An­dre Agassi to give the Brazil­ian the top rank­ing ahead of Marat Safin.

Andy Mur­ray holds the tro­phy af­ter beat­ing No­vak Djokovic at the ATP World Tour Fi­nals singles fi­nal match Photo: AP

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