In-form Andy eyes top spot

Mur­ray closes on Djokovic af­ter sixth ti­tle win of the year

7 Days in Dubai - - SPORT -

Andy Mur­ray proved once again why he is the dom­i­nant force in men’s ten­nis as he brushed aside Roberto Bautista Agut to win his sixth ti­tle of the year.

With Roger Fed­erer in­jured, Rafa Nadal still try­ing to re­gain his con­fi­dence and No­vak Djokovic deal­ing with the ef­fects of a men­tally ex­haust­ing sea­son, Mur­ray is tak­ing full ad­van­tage.

The only thing left is the top rank­ing and he’s clos­ing in fast on that, too.

It may be dif­fi­cult to catch Djokovic this year, but Mur­ray is al­ready look­ing ahead to next sea­son.

“I will try to fin­ish this year as strong as I can. And next year if the op­por­tu­nity is there to reach No. 1, then I want to try and take it,” said Mur­ray af­ter his 7-6 6-1 vic­tory over Bautista Agut.

“It’s go­ing to be a tough thing to achieve that. I’m aware of that.

“But I be­lieve I can get there. These last few months have proved that to me. But No­vak will win matches. He is the best player in the world.

“I don’t think he has lost an in­door [match] in a long time.”

Mur­ray is now within 915 points of Djokovic af­ter a stun­ning run of form that has seen him win 20 sets in suc­ces­sion fol­low­ing on from his vic­tory at the China Open in Bei­jing a week ago.

The Scot’s form is cer­tainly on an up­ward curve and he is pleased with how changes to his game have made a sig­nif­i­cant dif­fer­ence. “In the last few months, I have won a lot of matches and made im­prove­ments,” he added. “I have been mov­ing for­ward bet­ter and changed the di­rec­tion of the ball bet­ter. “I have also come up with some big­ger serves when I have needed them.” Mur­ray’s vic­tory in Shang­hai was his 41st ca­reer ti­tle and achieved with very lit­tle fuss once he had com­fort­ably ne­go­ti­ated a first set tie-break.

Things went with serve un­til Mur­ray broke his Span­ish op­po­nent to take a 4-3 lead but when Bautista Agut broke back and then made it 6-5, Mur­ray took the first set to a tie-break with a love game.

He cruised through the tie-break 7-1 to make it 19 sets won in a row be­fore three breaks of ser­vice, to his op­po­nent’s one, in the sec­ond set eased the Bri­ton into a 5-1 lead.

From there he made no mis­take, clos­ing out the match with a suc­ces­sion of big sec­ond serves and some pow­er­ful ground­strokes.

Such was his dom­i­nance that even Bautista Agut feels it’s only a mat­ter of time be­fore he is world No. 1.

“Andy is do­ing ev­ery­thing to get No­vak,” said the Spa­niard.

“I can see it in his eyes. He’s re­ally fo­cused on get­ting No. 1”

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