Scotland’s Andy Murray yesterday demolished Roberto Bautista to win the Shanghai Masters without dropping a set as he edged closer to Novak Djokovic’s world No. 1 ranking.
The Wimbledon and Olympic champion won seven points in a row in the first-set tiebreak and he broke Bautista three times in the second to win his third Shanghai title 7-6 (7/1), 6-1.
The rampant 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.
Most importantly, the world No. 2 slashes the gap to just 915 points from the out-of-sorts Djokovic, who was shocked by Spain’s Bautista in the semis.
“I believe I can get there. I definitely believe I can get there. These last few months have proved that to me,” Murray said of the top ranking.
“I may never get another chance to be No. 1, so I’ll give it my best shot to do that while I have the opportunity,” he added.
Nineteenth-ranked Bautista, who was playing his first Masters final, said it was clear how much Murray wanted to secure the top spot.
“I think I can see it in his eyes. He’s really focused on getting No. 1,” 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.
However, 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 he dominated the tiebreak, reeling off 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.
However, 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.
“I will try and finish this year as strong as I can,” Murray said.
‘CRIMINAL ACT’: The UCI said it ‘strongly condemns’ Dylan Groenewegen’s ‘dangerous behavior,’ which left Jakobsen in critical condition and injured other cyclists Dutch cyclist Fabio Jakobsen was in a coma on Wednesday, in “serious” condition, after he was thrown into and over a barrier at 80kph in the conclusion to the opening stage of the Tour de Pologne. Footage showed 23-year-old Jakobsen, of the Deceuninck-Quick-Step, racing elbow-to-elbow with fellow Dutchman Dylan Groenewegen of Jumbo-Visma as both men frantically tussled in a tight sprint to the line in Katowice. However, Jakobsen came off worst, somersaulting over the barriers before colliding with a photographer after Groenewegen had veered suddenly to the right, squeezing his rival into the security wall. “His condition is very serious. His life is
WEEKEND MATCHES: While Tatung FC made good on their chances early on, Taiwan Steel rallied to win the game 2-3 and move to the top with Taichung Futuro Sunday’s action saw Taichung Futuro, Taipower FC and Taiwan Steel tied for first place on 30 points in the Taiwan Football Premier League, while Hang Yuan FC picked up a point to take the No. 4 spot on 25 points after holding Taipower to a scoreless draw. In Taoyuan, Tatung FC hosted Taiwan Steel. It was an exciting matchup, as the visitors rallied from 2-0 down to take the game with three goals. Tatung made good on their chances early on. Honduran midfielder Elias Argueta opened the account 15 minutes into the game with a low shot from the right. Three minutes
Ronnie O’Sullivan delivered a scathing attack on the next generation of snooker players after he made the quarter-finals of the World Snooker Championship on Sunday, ending Chinese star Ding Junhui’s world championship dream. The mercurial 44-year-old Englishman won an enthralling high-quality second-round encounter 13-10 to set up a quarter-final clash with three-time champion Mark Williams. When asked by the BBC whether he thought he would remain at the top of the game for this long, the Briton, who turned professional in 1992, said the poor quality of younger players had secured his position and that something drastic would have to happen
Max Verstappen informed his Red Bull team that he would not be driving “like a grandma” in Formula One’s 70th Anniversary Grand Prix on Sunday — and he was as good as his word. The Dutch 22-year-old seized his opportunity at Silverstone, ending dominant Mercedes’ run of four successive wins this season and moving up to second place overall, 30 points behind leader Lewis Hamilton. Verstappen’s confidence shone through early on, after slotting into third place behind the two Mercedes, when he was told by race engineer Gianpiero Lambiase to take care of his tires. “Mate, this is the only chance of being