Murray masters Shanghai to close on top ranking
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 number one 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 number one 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.
Nineteenth-ranked 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 number one,” the Spaniard said.
Murray’s first serve of the match was a thumping ace and he took a grip on the opening set at 3-3 when Bautista netted a backhand to lose the first break point of the match.
But Murray, serving at 5-4, lost three set points and got in a tangle on a drop shot to hand Bautista his first break point, which he converted with a strong forehand.
The Briton slammed three consecutive aces for 6-6 and dominated the tie-break, winning seven points in a row and taking the set with a sizzling backhand return.
A string of Bautista errors put Murray a break up at the start of set two, but to his obvious frustration he gave it straight back with a miscued forehand.
But Bautista twice double-faulted to go a break down before handing over yet another break, making victory a formality for Murray who tucked away his first championship point.
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.
Andy Murray celebrates after winning his men’s singles finals match against Roberto Bautista Agut at the Shanghai Masters.