News Agency of Nigeria (NAN)

Murray eyes Djokovic’s No.1 rank

Andy Murray: chases Djokovic

Olawale Alabi

Andy Murray kept his pursuit of Novak Djokovic’s number one ranking alive by securing his fifth singles title of 2016 and the 40th of his career by beating Grigor Dimitrov 6-4 7-6 (7-2) in the China Open final on Sunday.

World number two Murray was seriously tested by his Bulgarian opponent but the Scot ended a near-faultless week in Beijing with the main prize.

The British number one seed did not drop a set during the tournament.

Djokovic who leads the ATP tour ranking with 14,040 points, will only drop 500 points on Monday, while Murray will add 1,000 points to his 9,345 points. Both top players will meet again in Shanghai Masters.

Earlier, British number one Johanna Konta was beaten 6-4 6-2 by Agnieszka Radwanska in the women’s final.

“Andy is one of the toughest competitors out there and the credit goes to him,” said Dimitrov after the match on Sunday.

World number 20 Dimitrov made it through to the final after his semi-final opponent, Milos Raonic, was forced to withdraw with an ankle injury.

It looked a formality for the Briton who broke his opponent’s serve in the opening game before holding his own to double the advantage at the beginning of the first set.

Dimitrov rallied in the second set, forcing it to 5-5 before before the final headed into a tie-breaker.

Murray gained the mini-break with the first point and although Dimitrov hit back, the Scot won six of the next seven points to earn his maiden China Open title.

Murray has targeted overtaking Novak Djokovic as the world’s top-ranked player and, with the Serb missing the China Open through injury, the Scot has narrowed the gap.

While Murray has triumphed at Wimbledon and the Olympics this year, Djokovic’s form has dipped since beating his rival to the French Open title.

Djokovic was beaten in the early rounds at Wimbledon and Rio 2016, and although he reached the US Open final last month, he was beaten by Switzerland’s Stan Wawrinka.