Murray wins fifth singles title of 2016 with China Open victory

Andy Murray

Andy Murray secured his fifth singles title of 2016 – and 40th of his career – by beating Grigor Dimitrov 6-4 7-6 (7-2) in the China Open final.

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 top seed did not drop a set during the tournament.

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

“It’s been the most consistent year of my career, getting to the latter stages of most of the events I have played,” Murray told Sky Sports after the match on Sunday.

“It was a great week for me. Today’s match was a very high-level match. Grigor fought right to the end and made it extremely tough to finish it in two sets.

“It’s been an excellent week and I’m very happy with the way that I have played the last couple of matches. I will look forward to Shanghai now.”

Relive finals day at the China Open

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 and saved a break point at 3-2 before serving out the set.

Dimitrov rallied in the second set, breaking as Murray served for the match at 5-4.

In the tie-break, 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 narrows Djokovic’s lead

Andy Murray

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 lost to Switzerland’s Stan Wawrinka.

Analysis – Murray within striking distance

BBC tennis correspondent Russell Fuller

By winning the China Open, Murray pocketed a fifth title of the year and 500 precious ranking points, which takes his total to 9,345, but he still trails Novak Djokovic in the No 1 spot on 14,040.

Murray now heads to Shanghai – where he will be reunited with Djokovic – who knows he still has work to do to finish as number one for the fifth time in six years.

Djokovic still has a healthy lead but Murray is within striking distance, should there be too many slips. And the world number two is even better placed to make a run at the top spot in the first three months of 2017, where Djokovic has titles to defend at the Australian Open, Indian Wells and Miami.

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BBC Sport – Tennis

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