NEWS

Andy Murray eyes number one spot after Shanghai win

October 17, 2016

Andy Murray could soon become world number one for the first time in his career after winning the Shanghai Rolex Masters yesterday (October 16th).

The Scot racked up another 1,000 points by defeating Roberto Bautista Agut 7-6, 6-1, securing his sixth title of the year in the process.

It means he further closes the gap on word number one Novak Djokovic, who was beaten by Bautista Agut in the semi-final and is now only 915 points ahead for 2016.

While this might have come as an unpleasant Shanghai surprise for Djokovic, Bautista Agut reached the final without dropping a set and took the opener against Murray to a tie-break after the Scot blew a chance to serve out at 5-4 and 40-0 up. However, having recovered from this wobble Murray took both the tie-break and second set with dominant tennis. He has now won the last 23 sets of tennis he has played.

Murray has enjoyed a superb run of form in recent months, including Wimbledon and Olympic triumphs, as well as back-to-back victories in China this month, having taken the China Open title as well. By contrast, Djokovic has seen his form dip since winning the French Open in June to complete his set of Grand Slams, although he did reach the US Open final last month.

It means fans booking corporate hospitality for the ATP World Tour Finals in London next month could be seeing a new number one on court, should Murray win upcoming tournaments in Vienna and Paris and Djokovic fail to reach the final of the latter event, the final Masters 1000 tournament of the year.

Even if Djokovic remains on top at the end of this year, Murray could dethrone him by winning the Australian or French Open titles, both of which the Serb won this year by beating the British number one in the final.

Speaking this week, Murray said if there was one title he coveted more than any other in 2017 it would be a victory at Roland Garros, where he has struggled in past years. Given that he is now in the form of his life, having already equalled his previous year-best totals of six titles and 65 wins, anything is possible.

Discussing his recent progress, Murray told Sky Sports: "In the last few months, I have won a lot of matches and made improvements. 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."

"My goal wasn't to finish number one at the end of this year but in the early parts of next year there is an opportunity - 900 points doesn't seem like loads.

"But Novak will win matches. He is the best player in the world. I don't think he has lost an indoor game in a long time."

With the ATP World Tour Finals approaching, the race is also hotting up for the final places.

Dominic Thiem is currently in eighth place on 3,205 points, just 95 behind Rafael Nadal. Those within a thousand of Thiem include Tomas Berdych, Marin Cilic, David Goffin and Bautista Agut, whose appearance in the Shanghai final was his first in a Masters tournament.

By Keith Prowse

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