Mur­ray tar­gets ‘strong’ year-end to top­ple world num­ber-one Djokovic

The Myanmar Times - - Sport -

ANDY Mur­ray eas­ily claimed the China Open crown this past week­end, but that’s not all that the Scot is after as he closes in on No­vak Djokovic’s top rank­ing. The sec­ond-ranked Mur­ray is look­ing to close the points gap to Djokovic and cap a ca­reer-best sea­son by top­ping the world rank­ings for the first time.

Mur­ray made a con­vinc­ing start to that cam­paign in Bei­jing, storm­ing through the tour­na­ment with­out drop­ping a set be­fore beat­ing Grigor Dim­itrov to claim his fifth ti­tle of the year and take him 1000 points closer to Djokovic’s long-held num­ber one spot.

“It’s very pos­i­tive lead­ing into Shang­hai, and hope­fully I can fin­ish the year strong,” Mur­ray said in Bei­jing.

Djokovic wasn’t in the Chi­nese cap­i­tal to de­fend his China Open crown, hav­ing pulled out with an el­bow in­jury, but both are play­ing at this week’s Shang­hai Mas­ters.

Djokovic also won in Shang­hai last year in what was one of the best sea­sons in ten­nis his­tory, and cur­rently sits at a 3005-point lead over Mur­ray, who bagged both his sec­ond Wim­ble­don crown and an Olympic gold medal in 2016.

He also reached the fi­nal of the Aus­tralian and French Opens, but missed out on a sec­ond con­sec­u­tive Davis Cup win when Great Bri­tain lost to Ar­gentina in the semi-fi­nals.

As Mur­ray aims to be­come the first Bri­tish man to reach num­ber one, he is al­ready writ­ing his­tory with Jo­hanna Konta.

The 25-year-old Sydney-born Bri­ton broke into the top 10 with her run to the fi­nal at her maiden ap­pear­ance at the China Open – the first Bri­tish woman since Jo Durie in 1984 to achieve that feat.

It is the first time since com­put­erised rank­ings were in­tro­duced that a Bri­tish man and woman are ranked in the top 10 at the same time.

Konta is now look­ing to cap a stun­ning rise over the last 15 months from 146th to ninth with her first ap­pear­ance at the WTA Fi­nals in Sin­ga­pore, which fea­tures the sea­son’s top eight play­ers. –

Photo: AFP

Andy Mur­ray ges­tures after win­ning a point against David Fer­rer of Spain dur­ing the men’s sin­gles semi-fi­nal at the China Open in Bei­jing on Oc­to­ber 8. Mur­ray de­feated Fer­rer, and then went on to beat Bul­garia’s Grigor Dim­itrov on the fi­nal 6-4, 7-6 (2).

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