Andy Murray one week from No 1 ranking after third straight ATP victory; Marin Cilic wins in Basel

The Briton can unseat Novak Djokovic if he triumphs in Paris and the Serb fails to reach the final

PUBLISHED : Monday, 31 October, 2016, 12:06am
UPDATED : Monday, 31 October, 2016, 12:06am

Andy Murray closed in on the No 1 ranking by winning his third straight ATP title at the Erste Bank Open in Vienna, Austria on Sunday.

The Scot can overtake Novak Djokovic atop the ATP rankings next week if he wins the Paris Masters and the Serb doesn’t reach the final.

“I get a step closer with every win but it’s still a long way from here,” Murray said.

Murray defeated Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 6-4, 7-6 (8-6) for his personal best seventh title of the season, and 42nd overall. Djokovic has also won seven events this year.

Murray extended his unbeaten streak to 14 matches after also winning in Beijing and Shanghai.

The 15th-ranked Tsonga, who was the 2011 champion, appeared in his first final of the season, which has been marred by adductor and left knee injuries.

Murray advanced to the final after defending champion David Ferrer pulled out with a left leg injury, while Tsonga saved a match point in his two-and-a-half-hour semi-final against Ivo Karlovic on Saturday.

Murray, who also won in Vienna on his only previous visit in 2014, dominated Sunday’s final from the start. He raced into a 3-0 lead by taking 14 of the first 19 points of the match.

He avoided break points in his games, and missed a set point on the Frenchman’s serve at 5-2 but clinched the opening set in the next game with his second ace.

Murray conceded just two points on his way to a 2-0 lead in the second set but started to struggle with his first serve as his percentage dropped to 18 halfway through the second set.

He hit a forehand long on the only break point for Tsonga to help the Frenchman level at 4-4.

Murray missed his first match point in the tiebreaker as he netted a forehand return, but closed out the win on his second chance with an ace.

It was a 14th defeat in 16 meetings with Murray for Tsonga, whose run to the final did at least keep alive his slim hopes of reaching the season ending World Tour Finals in London.

In Basel, Marin Cilic beat Kei Nishikori in straight sets to win the Swiss Indoors title on Sunday, a repeat of their 2014 US Open final meeting.

The fourth-seeded Croatian raced through the first set in 25 minutes on his way to a 6-1, 7-6 (7-5) victory.

Nishikori, the third-seeded Japanese, wasted three set-point chances at 5-4, then double-faulted when Cilic held a second match point. Cilic’s second title of the season strengthened his hold on the last qualifying place for the ATP Tour Finals in London.

Ranked No 12 coming to Basel, Cilic rose above Tomas Berdych in the points race. The Finals week line-up is decided at the Paris Masters starting on Monday.

Sunday’s final was the first Basel title match in a decade that did not feature hometown favorite Roger Federer.