| 9.9°C Belfast

Murray triumphs and is fired up to be number one hit


Andy Murray reacts after beating Fernando Verdasco in Paris

Andy Murray reacts after beating Fernando Verdasco in Paris

AFP/Getty Images

Andy Murray reacts after beating Fernando Verdasco in Paris

Andy Murray stepped up his quest to be the first British player to be World number one by edging out Spain's Fernando Verdasco in the Paris Masters second round last night.

Murray, 29, who could overtake Novak Djokovic with a good run this week, won 6-3 6-7 (5-7) 7-5 in two hours and 29 minutes. He plays Frenchman Lucas Pouille today.

Earlier, Djokovic beat Luxembourg's Gilles Muller 6-3 6-4.

Murray said: "It was a tough match. Verdasco was going for his shots and serving huge.

"When he was behind in games, and even when I was getting the return back, he was dictating the points on his forehand and backhand. He hit a few lines with his backhand. I just had to fight at the end."

On facing Lucas Pouille in the third round, he added: "It'll be similar to today's match. He's right-handed and takes a lot of risks. He serves well and is improving all the time. He'll have home support too. I've enjoyed playing the French players in this atmosphere in the past."

Djokovic plays Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov.

Djokovic, 29, will retain his number one ranking - held for 122 weeks - if he reaches the final.

However, failure to do so would allow Murray to overtake him if the Scot can win the title, or if Murray reaches the final and Djokovic exits before the semis.

Murray took the first set against World number 46 Verdasco after breaking to go 4-2 ahead, but lost a second-set tie-break.

In a tense decider, Murray struggled to dominate before breaking to love to clinch the win.

Victory over Verdasco means Murray, who secured his seventh title of the year in Vienna on Sunday, has won 53 of his past 57 matches.

The ATP World Tour Finals in London is the next big event, starting on Sunday week.

Belfast Telegraph