Murray Eyes Asian Sweep, No. 3 Ranking In Shanghai
by Staff | October 16th, 2011, 12:43 am

Just two sets is all Andy Murray’s needs to sweep all three Asian ATP weeks this fall. Murray, a winner at Bangkok and Tokyo, seeks his third straight title later tonight against Spaniard David Ferrer in the finals of the Shanghai Rolex Masters.

Murray has been sparkling this second half of the season winning 24 of his last 25 matches including 14 straight. His only loss during that run came to Rafael Nadal in the US Open semifinals.

And if he beats Ferrer he’ll also pass Roger Federer to become the No. 3 ranked player in the world for the first time. Federer has been ranked among the Top 3 since July 7, 2003 following his maiden Grand Slam title.

“It would be nice to finish the year off No. 3 if I can because that would be the highest ranking I finished at,” Murray said. “It’s not the ultimate goal, but it’s a step in the right direction.”

The fifth ranked Ferrer is seeking his first career Masters title. The 29-year-old won a third set tiebreak thriller on Friday before needing another three set to oust countryman Feliciano Lopez in the semifinals.

“Is very special to be again in the final here,” said Ferrer. “I did in 2007. I will try to do my best for win tomorrow. I never win a Master 1000, and is very important for me, for my career, for my tennis career.”

Murray leads Ferrer in their 4-3 head-to-head and the Scot is 4-0 on hardcourts including a 62 63 Murray win in Tokyo.

“He’s always tough,” Murray said of Ferrer. “He’s No. 5 in the world, so one of the toughest guys on the tour to play against. Yeah, I mean, I played well against him last week. But every match is obviously different. He’s definitely going to be bang up for the match tomorrow. He’s got a great attitude. He fights, well, right until the end in every single match. It’s definitely a match where if I want to win, I’m going to have to play very, very well.”

Said Ferrer, “Yeah, Andy is playing amazing, no? He won the last two tournaments. I lost against him in Tokyo easy, 63, 62. I know every week is different. But tomorrow I need to improve my game for to win to Andy. He’s a top player, and I need to play my best tennis tomorrow for to win.”

Murray owns 20 career ATP titles, four this year and the 2010 Shanghai title. Ferrer has 11, two coming this season.

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53 Comments for Murray Eyes Asian Sweep, No. 3 Ranking In Shanghai

jane Says:

Come on Andy M! Go for the sweep and for number 3. One step at a time.

It looks there is a fairly decent possibility that Fed will end as number 5. He has lots of points to defend and I don’t think Ferrer does. Not much separates them. As margot said on the other thread, 3 vs 4 doesn’t make much difference, but 5 does or could in terms of draws.

margot Says:

Morning jane, YAY! Come on Andy indeed, “one step at a time” :)

Kimmi Says:

zimonjic/llodra has 2 match points, one of them on their serve..still lost it. Congrats to nestor/mirnyi.

Dory Says:

Go Ferrer, time to win your first Masters 1000 title.

Kimmi Says:

great match, just woke up in the start of secpnd set. muzza go go go

Kimmi Says:

great hands is murray

Kimmi Says:

c’mon focus muzza

Kimmi Says:

oh no! 2 BH errors..c’mon murray

Kimmi Says:

YAY! hat-trick! congrats murray. and congrats to moving to no.3

Wog boy Says:

Well done Andy. As for Ferrer, you can not win with 1st serve 44%, not against Murray.
Ok, back to Europe, empty stadiums look sad in China and spectators who keep walking in and out in the middle of the game. Sorry, but I didn’t have a feeling it was masters final.

Dory Says:

Wow Ferrer always disappoints on the big occasions. Murray played superb!! Congrats to Murray fans. Impressive that he manages to win at least two Masters 1000 every year since 2008!!

margot Says:

Hooray for Andy Murray :) No 3 wheeeeeeee

Brando Says:

Congratulations to andy- also margot! I do hope ferrer wins a MS before his career finishes, he deserves one!

dari Says:


dari Says:

hope david gets a masters shield, seriously!
but glad andy got this one to cap off a great stretch in asia

Just Me Says:

Where’s Sean? : )

jane Says:

Way to go Andy! What fine form in Asia. margot, woot! :)

I do agree with others that it would be nice to see Ferrer win a Masters someday, but didn’t want him to do it this time against Andy M when there was a nice hat-trick and number 3 on the line.

Just Me Says:

Oh right. Sean’s not good at eating humble pie or crow. C’est la vie. Congrats to Andy Murray, world’s #3. Asian hat trick puts him into position. Keep the momentum going, Andy!

jane Says:

Way to go Kimmi, for winning the draw challenge. You’re right: it was one of the toughest, with so many upsets! Murray took me from last to third, so I am happy.

M Says:

“Ferrer always disappoints on the big occasions”

MAndy played less tennis in the tournament. Ferru was on court much longer.

Kimmi Says:

thanks jane. Its ironic coz this is the first time I finished inside 1000th place. Hope paris will be better.

I dont know why i had this on “novak no.1 thread”, I think it make more sense here.

“congrats to kvitova for winning Linz. it was a decent field. Good prep for Year end Championship”

Congrats to bartoli also for winning osaka beating stosur easily.

grendel Says:

yes, Ferrer had been serving well in the tourney – but cldn’t get it going today. As yet one more first serve plonked into the net, there was a tremendous roar. Who was it, and why? Ah, it was poor old David, well and truly pissed that he cldn’t get it up, if you know what I mean. ‘Course, once you roar like that, anything else is kind of an anti-climax. His serving didn’t improve – but he had made his point. Each subsequent failure was accompanied by a kind of expressionless fatalism.

Talking of serves, it seems that Murray is 50th on the tour w.r.t 2nd serve success. When his 1st serve is going so well, it perhaps doesn’t matter too much. But come the slams, he can’t expect his first serve to be so consistently good. So here’s hoping he manages to do something about the 2nd. Just like he has with the fh – looking good today.

puckbandit Says:

Yes! Go Murray! Now string together some aggressive sets in majors and get your first Grand Slam under your belt.

Also would like to see Ferrer bag MS1000, very deserving player.

Why such attendance problem in China? Weren’t tickets to this type of final coveted just a few years ago? has there been a major drop-off in interest post olympics?

jane Says:

Yes, Andy needs to improve his second serve grendel. If you look at the stats, Fed, Rafa, and Nole are all right at the top in second serves won, which means their second serve at least is less attackable, still a weapon. Tipsy and Delpo are top ten in this category. With Andy’s first class return game and his very difficult-to-return first serve, and now his improved forehand, it seems like that second serve may be the last (or one of the last) piece in the puzzle – a slam is likely just around the corner.

grendel Says:

“MAndy played less tennis in the tournament. Ferru was on court much longer.” But M, you’re not suggesting this affected the result? After all, Murray must have been a little drained following two titles on the trot and a 3rd beckoning.

Incidentally, at the awards ceremony, I noticed with some apprehension Murray clutching on to a piece of paper. Surely he wasn’t going to favour us with a spot of spoken Chinese? Well, he was, and did. The master of ceremonies hadn’t the least idea of what Murray had said and, rather brusquely, I thought, snatched the paper from Murray’s hands – and instantly I couldn’t help wondering, what if a startled Murray had decided to hang onto the paper, and they’d ended up having a kind of tug of war, the inevitable tear – and then what?

Fortunately, the dapper presenter was able to make sense of the script. The trouble is, Chinese is a tonal language and furthermore has endlessly repetitive vowel sounds which are inadequately represented by letters, so two identical spellings will mean quite different things according to context. Not a sensible experiment.

sar Says:

Jane I think Nole did three in a row…Belgrade, Madrid against Rafa and Rome against Rafa.

jane Says:

sar, Nole had a clay hat-trick, ;). He had that AO, IW, Miami swing as well. Murray and Nole with the hat-tricks this year, woot! Rafa won lots of clay titles, just not back-to-back: but he won Monte Carlo, Barcelona and the FO.

Fed had a late-in-the-season run last year, winning Stockholm, Basel and WTF. It will be interesting to see how he fiinishes off this year. Is he playing Stockholm again?

grendel Says:

Kimmi – Eurosport showed about half of the Kvitova match, and it was enjoyable. Both Kvitova and Cibulkova are very entertaining – the scoreline a bit deceptive, since the games were usually close. I think Kvitova has the potential to be something very special. Now that she’s finally got over the shock/horror/delight of being a grand slam champion, she’s actually injected a little bit of caution into her game. She has come to recognize the concept of “rallying”, of manouevering for position, of – in short – not feeling she has to belt the living hell out of each and every ball.

Mind you, she still gives plenty of balls a hearty smack, as indeed does Cibulkova, and I kid you not, some of the exchanges were extra terrestrial. But there is so much else to Kvitova’s game, as you know. Her drop shots again were pretty good, and her volleying often sublime. She can manage the low ones off both wings, including balls which are smacked really hard at her, and few hit harder than Cibulkova. She just has the most wonderful touch and I think this is not actually like another weapon in the armoury. I think it is the same feel which produces the delicate volleys and droppers as produces, for example, the most wonderful, screaming returns. She doesn’t belt the ball like the giants do, she times it. And so her 2nd serve is sometimes as lethal as her 1st.

‘Course, she still misses plenty, that’s the nature of her game. But I do believe once she’s got it alttogether, and that might not be for a year or two, she’s gonna gives us treats right out of paradise.

carlo Says:

grendel, I didn’t get to watch the match or ceremony. this is an amusing detail. You made me laugh.
“Incidentally, at the awards ceremony, I noticed with some apprehension Murray clutching on to a piece of paper. Surely he wasn’t going to favour us with a spot of spoken Chinese? Well, he was, and did. The master of ceremonies hadn’t the least idea of what Murray had said and, rather brusquely, I thought, snatched the paper from Murray’s hands – and instantly I couldn’t help wondering, what if a startled Murray had decided to hang onto the paper, and they’d ended up having a kind of tug of war, the inevitable tear – and then what?”

I’ll have to go try and find it on youtube! Can’t blame him for wanting to learn a little Chinese.

Congratulations to Andy for winning Shanghai!

And old Federer is on the rankings slide. 600 points lost after skipping Shanghai. He isn’t in Stockholm this week I see. That will be 250 pts. Basel 500 to defend and Paris 360. WTF a whopping 1500. Murray only has ? in Valencia, I think less than 200 in Paris and not so much at WTF. Murray’s #3 should be very secure.

David C. Says:

Good match for Andy. It will be interesting to see what happens at the year end championship, the battles between him, Rafa, Novak, and Fed. Regarding the crowd size in Shanghai, it could be a number of factors such as the not so big tennis fanbase in China, the absence of Fed and Nole, and the fact that the tournament is played a week after the week long national holiday, and so forth. Oh well.

grendel Says:

Furthermore, carlo, Ferrer now has Federer in his sights. I don’t know how much he has to defend, but Ferrer being Ferrer, he will likely perform solidly in the remaining tourneys – so if Federer slips…..

carlo Says:

Didn’t Ferrer win Valencia last year? I somehow think Ferrer passing Federer in the rankings didn’t look possible by the year end, particularly if Ferrer performs as he did at WTF. But I am forgetting how far Ferrer went in Paris.

I think it’s certainly possible in 2012 that Federer drops from the top 4.

Ferrer isn’t much younger than Federer, I don’t think and has nearly as many miles ( speaking like a car salesman )They both run pretty ****** well though!

carlo Says:

Yes. Ferrer won Valencia. On one hand, it’s a pity he couldn’t win Shanghai – lacking that 1000 pt Masters title – he does deserve.

But, Murray is just better than Ferrer on most days. When Murray gets a GS title these tennis boards will erupt in celebration!

jane Says:

Actually, I don’t see how Ferrer could pass Fed after looking at the rolling rankings: Fed has 8380 and Ferrer has 4200. In the race, Fed has 5185 and Ferrer has 4300, and it was this 885 point difference that I initially looked at. Anyhow, these sorts of calculations always confuse me so they are best left in others’ hands. It looks to me like Fed should finish at number 4.

grendel Says:

Ah, Ferrer won valencia. Fed won basle – same number of points – can’t see Fed not doing well at Basle again, though he might not win. Say him and Ferrer do the same. Ferrer is about 670 pts behind Fed now – is that right? Is he entered into any of these Russian and French tourneys? He’s bound to pick up a few points there. So it all hinges on Paris since, as you say, it is unlikely Ferrer will do much at the O2. But even if he gets to the final there (unlikely) it won’t be enough. So agree, he’s not going to overtake Fed. He’ll be within spitting distance, perhaps though – which will make the first quarter of 2012 interesting….

Having said all that, Federer is well rested, probably hungry, he likes indoors – maybe he’ll stack up the points at Paris and the O2.

I don’t usually check these things, but there is something kind of Greek tragedy-ish in the slow, slow decline of Roger Federer. He really is hanging on to the bitter end, it seems…

Kimmi Says:

Actually, i think it will be interesting if federer is seeded 5. no one would want to see him in their qtr. I feel he will be highly motivated to cause an upset. He might lose if he is in rafa qtr but if he gets nole, andy or ferrer watch out.

Thanks grendel for the summary of kvitova/cibulkova match. wanted to watch it on the stream but could not get up early enough. as i mentioned above, she beat some great players this week..which bodes well for year end championship

there is one more place left for qualification. radwanska, petkovic and batroli apparently have good chance. radawnska and bartoli are playing this week in russia. bartoli won this weekend so she is getting close…but i think radwanska is in a better position.

jane Says:

Kimmi, a bit of reverse psychology eh? :) You have a point. Delpo and Tsonga were the dark horses this year, though often they came even earlier than a fifth seed would. Fed would be a VERY dark horse. ;)

Kimmi Says:

I know jane. instead of worrying too much for fed maybe i should look at it in a positive way. I mean, he is not going to stay at the top forever. but good thing is he still can find his best game once in a while.

I cant wait to see how he is going to perform when he comes back in basel. Will Nole be there? i hope so. We all know how consistent nole is, let hope federer can play well too..they always bring the best at each other.

Leon Says:

Theoretically, Federer can finish the year at ## 3, 4, or 5, but realistically it will be #4 – most likely. The question is how he himself sees this.
Surely, he can do sums (I’ll never forget his “inch-perfect” loss to Juan Martin, WTF 2009, shutting down the door for Andy), so skipping the Asian swing AND Stockholm he definitely said good-bye to #3 (kudos to Andy, he has taken it at once and in style) and, it seems to me, to truly competetive participation in the tour in general. Perhaps, the USO semis was the last straw, or smth else, hard to say. One can only guess what are his priorities now but they hardly concern rankings or even slam totals. Enough is enough, there will be no “doomsday”. And thinking soberly, why the hell break into a conversation of much younger men, too many of them now to dominate them all, and if not to dominate – 16 or 17, never mind.
Of course, he does not announce “R”, but deep inside he seemingly switches to an “exhibition regime”, smth like a Serena? but, naturally, without walking on broken glass.
Is this a kind if Greek tragedy, bitter end, etc? Or blessing in disguise? Well, as you like it.
As they say, I’d be glad to be wrong. We’ll see what happens – soon.

dari Says:

I enjoyed deciphering your thoughts(and imposing my own, surely) in that post Leon ;)
Will be a very sad day when we hear “R”

carlo Says:

Federer loses 600 and Ferrer gains 600. ATP has not updated yet.

subtract another 250 to Federer’s for missing Stockholm and by next week it’s

grendel, not sure where you are getting the 670?

If Federer lost all points at Basel and Paris and Ferrer defended Valencia and won Paris, Ferrer still needs to do well at WTF and Federer not…there is a small chance Ferrer could pass him.

But I agree with Leon. Federer has thought about the above numbers, no doubt. It’s not likely he cares too much about being 3,4,or 5. He should keep playing on ‘fun mode’ and make life as difficult as he can for his competitors on tour, which makes it all the more interesting for tennis fans.

Stockholm, Moscow ATP draws appear a bit thin. Following WTA looks more interesting in Moscow.

Depending on taste, there are a couple Challengers which might be more exciting.

Just Me Says:

Isn’t it four tournament wins in a row for Murray if you count the doubles title in Tokyo that he won with his brother?

grendel Says:

Leon-“greek tragedy” was just damn silly, actually. I regret that one…Thinking back to previous champions, some didn’t seem to mind the steady decline in the ranks. Sampras, for example. I think he felt he had done what he had set out to do and meanwhile, if he could sneak another slam, well and good. McEnroe the same, and yet different, too. Sampras knew he had a chance if the cards fell right – and sure enough, they did in New York 2002. I doubt McEnroe, in his heart, felt he’d win again – but (unlike Sampras) he just loved playing. Borg had no interest in even being #2, never mind #17. And amassing slams did not have the allure it did by the time of Sampras.

Federer has a bit of all these champions. The Borg bit – which might seem implausible – you can interpret as follows: he may not be #1, but everyone really knows that he is the best – Sampras, in fact, went so far recently as to aver that he KNEW Federer regarded himself as the best. The Sampras comparison is obvious – Federer would dearly love to grab another slam and, unlike McEnroe, certainly thinks he is in with a good shot. How long he can continue to think in this vein is anybody’s guess. And then, the McEnroe comparison – Federer absolutely adores playing tennis, it is without doubt his passion, and this is certainly truer of him than of any other top player.

I would agree, Leon, that rankings will not play much role in Federer’s thinking in that he will not reset his scheduling simply in order to attempt the climback. What, though, is his carefully considered scheduling in aid of? personally, I would have thought to make a concerted effort to get at least one more slam. But perhaps your idea of “exhibition” has something to it – that is, he would love to be able once more to play his very best against the very best on the biggest stages. That would be its own justification, and losing in such a context would not, in the long view, be such a disaster at all. I do believe Federer has a strong sense of theatre – in the best possible way.

Kimmi, Djokovic, Berdych, Fish, Roddick are all at Basle. I hope Fed gets Berdych – now a very difficult, but rewarding, opponent for him.

Leon Says:

“But perhaps your idea of “exhibition” has something to it – that is, he would love to be able once more to play his very best against the very best on the biggest stages. That would be its own justification, and losing in such a context would not, in the long view, be such a disaster at all. I do believe Federer has a strong sense of theatre – in the best possible way.”
Like it. You have extended and shaped my poor thoughts in a much more elegant way (no wonder). Thanks.

Dc Says:

Ranking doesn’t bother Fed.
Fed has thought of himself as number 1 for 8 straight years starting 2003. This is another record. Not many champions can say that they have considered themselves number 1 for at least 8 continuous years.

Kimmi Says:

grendel says “Kimmi, Djokovic, Berdych, Fish, Roddick are all at Basle.”

ha ha sounds like i am at basel too grendel, grinding it out with the boys. I wouldnt mind playing fed in the qtrs :)

berdych always makes me nervous. he knows how to play fed now, hit hard shots to his backhand. its working. a not good serving day could mean disaster. I agree with you though, a win will be rewarding for fed, could give him the confidence he needs to meet djokovic for example.

dari Says:

Good luck in basel, kimmi, you will need it with that field ;)
Also saw above you won the draw, way to go!
I think there is nothing tragic about roger. Except the two sets up losses this year!!!!!!!

jane Says:

grendel, “Federer absolutely adores playing tennis, it is without doubt his passion, and this is certainly truer of him than of any other top player.”

“Truer” of Fed more than “any other top player” ever or presently? I admit I am curious as to how you arrive at that conclusion, not disputing it necessarily, but just curious. It seems like it would be a difficult thing to be certain of, lthough I can why one might argue that, and I don’t mean being Fed’s fan either

He is enthusiastic about the sport; he rarely complains, though he isn’t immune to that; he plays on, even with enough titles, money etc., two babies, wifey, etc. – i.e, all good reasons to settle down; he loves winning and competition, having a goal.

Still, not sure it’s “certainly truer.” Just my opinion. And I respect yours.

jane Says:

Kimmi, kick some butt in Basel! :)

Kimmi Says:

ha ha you guys make me laugh..jane, dari.

margot Says:

grendel: how about going out with a “bang not a whimper” for Fed?
Andy had promised to speak some Chinese if he won the title again. Hence the stuff at the end. Poor Andy won’t be making promises like that again, I’m sure. Doesn’t even speak Spanish which I find strange since he trained there for 3 (?) years. Again said how nervous he’s been at the start of the match, now I know it was the thought of speaking that bit of Chinese causing the nerves….lol
kimmi: congrats on draw and go, go go in Basle :)

grendel Says:

jane – clearly my opinion is subjective, and I can see how irritating it must be to see it presented more or less as fact. I did rather toss a minnow into the stream….

However, for what it’s worth, Federer seems to me to be a tennis junkie. My impression is that tennis lies at the centre of his life in a way it doesn’t for Nadal, Djokovic and Murray (to take a few). I don’t mean he likes winning more, certainly not. Nor is his ambition, so far as I know, any bigger. Just that he likes everything to do with tennis. The converse of this is that he probably has fewer interests outside of tennis than do the others mentioned – so you might want to regard what I claimed as being, in point of fact, rather uncomplimentary, though I didn’t mean it that way.

I always recall Federer, some years ago, when he was at the height of his powers, saying that he was fortunate in that he felt at home on a tennis court. This was a genuinely modest, and revealing, statement – and, correctly or not, I drew certain conclusions from it. b.t.w., I believe McEnroe is also a tennis junkie, unlike his great rivals Borg, Connors and Lendl, or his successors like Edberg, Agassi, Sampras.

Incidentally, jane, I’ve recently been watching, on dvd, series 6 of Curb Your Enthusiasm. Most very good comedy series deteriorate with time (Frasier, Seinfeld) – this one actually improves, although Larry David has some very annoying mannerisms which sometimes make me want to punch him on the nose. That silly business of peering into someone’s eyes, for instance, to determine whether he is telling the truth. Anyway, in episode 2, there is a very funny skit on this whole topic of rich (actors, sportsmen etc) donating large sums for charity. I mention it, since we disagree on this matter – although I am well aware that most people would agree with you and not me.

andrea Says:

I don’t usually check these things, but there is something kind of Greek tragedy-ish in the slow, slow decline of Roger Federer. He really is hanging on to the bitter end, it seems…

i do like your style of writing grendel. i imagine you in a dark English manor with a brandy snifter and sheepdog at your feet as you ponder the tennis world.

roger seemed genuinely perplexed that he was doing the ‘loser’ interview after the US Open semi final this year. he is hanging on, and in some ways, thinking perhaps naively, that he can still pull out the multiple big wins. i’m sure he’ll win here or there before he retires. his perspective still feels fresh though and i imagine that is what you are alluding to with your talk about him really being immersed in tennis more so than the other top guys. he is a bit of a nerd…

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