Murray wins fifth singles title of 2016 with China Open victory
- Updated: October 9, 2016
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.
British number one seed Murray 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.
“Andy is one of the toughest competitors out there and the credit goes to him,” said Dimitrov after the match on Sunday.
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 before holding his own to double the advantage at the beginning of the first set.
Dimitrov rallied in the second set, forcing it to 5-5 before before the final headed into a tie-breaker.
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
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 was beaten by 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.