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Murray Retains Shanghai Crown To Complete Asian Hat-trick

Shanghai, China

Murray© Getty ImagesAndy Murray won his eighth ATP World Tour Masters 1000 crown.

Second seed Andy Murray won his third ATP World Tour title in three weeks in Asia as he retained his Shanghai Rolex Masters crown with a 7-5, 6-4 victory over third seed David Ferrer on Sunday.

Victory will see the 24-year-old Murray overtake Roger Federer at World No. 3 in the South African Airways 2011 ATP Rankings. It will be the first time since 7 July, 2003, when he won his first Grand Slam title at Wimbledon, that Federer has ranked outside the Top 3.

"My goal for the last three-four months after the US Open was to try to finish as high as possible and win as many matches as I could," said Murray. "It's obviously been a great start. But I'm still not guaranteed to finish at No. 3. I'm still going to have to win some more matches. But if you finish in front of Federer in a year, then there's not many people the last five, six, seven years that have been able to say that. So that's obviously a nice thing if I can do it."

Murray has now won 25 of his past 26 matches. The Scot came into Shanghai on the back of title runs at the PTT Thailand Open in Bangkok (d. Young) and the Rakuten Japan Open Tennis Championships in Tokyo (d. Nadal), and prior to a semi-final loss at the US Open (l. to Nadal) had triumphed at the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati (d. Djokovic).

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"I was really happy with the way I stayed focused," said Murray, reflecting on the Asian swing. "It's hard to explain. It's almost you'd think the more matches you win, the less pressure you feel. I was hitting the ball well, but there's still a little bit of tension because you want to try and keep the run going. I was really happy I managed to win today because it's always very tough playing against him.

"I think the best thing about it is just winning matches. Even like today, I wasn't necessarily playing my best tennis the whole way throughout, but I served well when I needed to, and that was it. I chased every ball down. I fought for every single point as hard as I could. That's something you need to do if you want to win all the time.

"This week I think overall it's satisfying. I didn't necessarily feel like I played amazing tennis, I just think I did the right things, made it very difficult for my opponents, and managed to win a tournament of this size when I still felt like I could have played a little bit better."

Victory in Shanghai was Murray’s fifth success of the year in total, having also lifted the trophy at the AEGON Championships in London (d. Tsonga) in June. He also reached his third Grand Slam final at the Australian Open (l. to Djokovic) and posted semi-final showings at Roland Garros and Wimbledon (l. to Nadal both times).

In a 10-minute first game Murray ended Ferrer’s run of 31 successive service holds as he broke through to lead 1-0. His lead was shortlived, though, as Ferrer immediately hit back to draw level. The Spaniard paid the price for three unforced errors in succession, including a double fault, as he surrendered his serve in the 11th game and this time Murray did not let him off the hook, serving out the 56-minute opener.

In the same scenario as the first set, Murray squandered a break in the first service game of the second set, but was able to regain his lead in the third game with a forehand lob winner. Under pressure, Ferrer fended off two break points in the fifth game, but could find no way to penetrate Murray’s defences on serve and the Scot wrapped up victory in one hour and 45 minutes. He also defeated Ferrer last week in the Tokyo semi-finals and improved to a 5-3 lead in their FedEx ATP Head2Head standings.

Murray, who had defeated Federer in the final a year earlier, captured his eighth ATP World Tour Masters 1000 crown, taking him to joint-sixth place with Thomas Muster on the title leaders list (since 1990).

Ferrer, who finished runner-up in an ATP World Tour Masters 1000 final for the third time in his career, said, "I fought a lot, but today it was impossible to beat Andy. He’s a very good player and person. I didn't serve really good this match, also because Andy received very well and I had to play closer to the lines. Andy was better than me in the second set. Maybe in the first set I had my chances. [But] I played so bad this game [at 5-5]. After I had a long time serving very bad. Anyway, is difficult to beat Andy in these moments. He is playing with [a lot of] confidence."

"I enjoyed the week a lot. Here in Shanghai, I’ve had the best moments of my career; I reached the final [of the Tennis Masters Cup] in 2007 and again this year. I hope to win next year."

The Spaniard also lost out in the 2010 Internazionali BNL d’Italia final in Rome and in this year’s Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters title match, falling to Rafael Nadal both times. The 29-year-old Spaniard, who had saved three match points in his third-round win over Juan Carlos Ferrero on Friday, was rewarded for his efforts this week by becoming the fifth player to qualify for the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals.

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