Andy Murray has burned through China in remorseless fashion. Since arriving in Beijing 2½ weeks ago, he has delivered arguably the most dominant sequence of his career, winning 10 straight matches that concluded on Sunday in a 7-6, 6-1 victory in the Shanghai final against Roberto Bautista Agut. Not a single set has been dropped.
In rankings terms, he is looming ever closer in Novak Djokovic’s rear-view mirror. In the Race to London – which gathers rankings points collected in the 2016 season – the margin is just 915 points, fewer than the 1,000 that Murray collected on Sunday.
After his victory, Murray remained realistic about his prospects of toppling Djokovic. “I for sure have a chance just now,” Murray said. “I have never had success like I have had the last few months in my career so to keep that going, I’m aware it’s going to be a difficult thing to do.
“I need to keep myself motivated and be smart but I believe I can get there. These last few months have proved that to me. I may never get another chance to be No 1, so I’ll give it my best shot to do that while I have the opportunity.
“I did feel like I played better this week than last week. In all of the matches I was hitting the ball pretty clean.
“It wasn’t that easy to come in and play really well straightaway, because the conditions were very different. I think I played four top-25 players this week and played some really good tennis against all of them. But I got a good start against Steve Johnson and kept it up from there.”