MURRAY MOVES CLOSER TO THE NO 1 RANKING WHILE CILIC SUCCEEDED IN BASEL
Andy Murray moved closer to the No. 1 ranking while Marin Cilic kept his grip on a year-end London place as the HEAD Heros swept the ATP titles at Vienna and Basel in a showcase weekend.
Murray, who endorses the HEAD Graphene XT Radical, staked his claim on the top ranking defeating Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 6-3, 7-6(6) to win the Erste Bank Open and move closer to the ATP top spot which is held by HEAD Novak Djokovic, who recommends the HEAD Graphene Touch Speed. The title was the seventh this season for Murray, and his second in Vienna for the form player of 2016.
Murray and Djokovic have it all to play for in their HEAD-to-HEAD ranking duel: if Murray wins the title in Paris next week and Djokovic fails to reach the final, the top ranking will change hands in time for the November 13 start of the season-ending World Tour Finals in London.
"I think I played my best tennis of the tournament today. That's pleasing, obviously, as you want to improve as an event goes on", Murray said. "I get a step closer with every win but it's still a long way from here. From two to one seems a small jump in a way but it's the hardest one to make. Obviously it's nice to win my seventh tournament. A lot of them have come in the last few months. "
In Basel, Cilic (HEAD Graphene XT Prestige) beat Japan's Kei Nishikori 6-1, 7-6(5) to claim the Swiss Indoors title and boost hopes of a place at next month's year-end showpiece in London. The Croatian fourth seed - who will also lead his nation in the Davis Cup final in Zagreb against Argentina - needed 90 minutes to impose his big game.
The trophy was the second for Cilic this season, after claiming his first Masters 1000 honor two months ago when he beat Andy Murray in Cincinnati. Cilic established himself as a solid ninth in the race to the World Tour Finals in London, where the provisionally seventh Nadal is out of the running.
But the Croatian will have to put in a solid performance next week in Paris at the last event of the ATP regular season to ensure a year-end place. "Paris will be deciding everything, I want to finish the regular season in good way and hope to refresh myself in the next couple of days to be ready again", Cilic said.
"I now have the first 500 series title in my career. I'm adding it to all my other trophies. It shows me that I'm on a good way, I'm playing very well. I had pressure all week fighting to qualify for London. But it was a great week for me, I played some good tennis."
In Singapore at the WTA Finals, Svetlana Kuznetsova, who endorses the HEAD Graphene XT Extreme, reached the semi-finals before taking a loss to later champion Dominika Cibulkova 6-1, 6-7 (2), 4-6.
"Dominika played really good. I was short in some shots, and in the end I think she just was aggressive and I was not. That's it", said the disappointed Russian. "The last five weeks, I was playing a match every single day. Now I'm dreaming of just relaxing, relaxing the nerves. I just want to have a good pre-season, and next year just to be consistent."