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Andy Murray out to displace Novak Djokovic as tennis World No1

By Robert Jones

Published 17/10/2016

Sixth title this year: Andy Murray at moment of victory
Sixth title this year: Andy Murray at moment of victory
Andy Murray with the Shanghai trophy

Delighted Andy Murray celebrated victory in China and then told how proximity to world number one Novak Djokovic in the rankings has caused him to reassess his short-term targets.

A straight-sets victory in the final of the Shanghai Masters over Roberto Bautista Agut of Spain, winning 7-6 (7/1) 6-1 in 96 minutes, gave the Scot his sixth title of the year.

More importantly it moved him to within 915 points of Djokovic, who lost to Bautista Agut in the semi-finals.

With Murray currently in top form, having won 20 sets in succession following on from his victory at the China Open in Beijing a week ago, he has now set his sights on the Serbian's position at the top of the rankings - although he admits overhauling the 12-time grand slam winner will be difficult.

"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," Murray said.

"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's form is on an upward curve and the Brazil Olympic gold medallist is pleased with how changes to his game have made a 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 where he closed out the match with a number of 100mph second serves and powerful groundstrokes.

Elsewhere in the Far East,Heather Watson and Naomi Broady were well beaten by a top-seeded sister act in the doubles final at the Hong Kong Open.

Chan Hao-ching and Chan Yung-jan, of Chinese Taipei, rolled to a 6-3 6-1 victory over the British pair in just an hour and two minutes.

Reviving a partnership that saw them win through two rounds at Wimbledon this year, Watson and Broady enjoyed a strong week in the doubles after early singles exits.

It was their first final together, but the long-standing friends found their experienced opponents overwhelmingly too strong.

The Chan siblings collected their third trophy of the year, cementing their place among the world's elite doubles players.

Broady said: "I want to congratulate our opponents. You've had a fantastic year, you're in the top five in the world for a reason and you were too good for us tonight so well done.

"I want to thank my partner. We've been best friends since we were about nine years old so to arrive at a final together on the same side of the net is just awesome, and I really enjoyed playing with her."

Belfast Telegraph

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