Andy Murray edging closer to ATP Tour Finals

Andy Murray was well in control. Picture: AP
Andy Murray was well in control. Picture: AP
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ANDY Murray moved closer to booking his place in the end-of-season ATP Tour Finals by reaching today’s final of the Erste Open in Vienna.

The Scot produced a dominant second-set performance to see off Serbian Viktor Troicki 6-4, 6-3 in their last-four clash.

Murray will move into the eighth and final qualifying place for London if he wins in Vienna, with only tournaments in Valencia and Paris to come.

It is the 27-year-old’s second final of the season after he won his 29th career title in Shenzhen last month. He will play David Ferrer in today’s final following the Spaniard’s 6-3, 2-6, 7-6 (3) win over Philipp Kohlschreiber in the second semi-final.

“I managed to win the big points,” said Murray, who had hard-fought wins over Vasek Pospisil and Jan-Lennard Struff in earlier rounds. “It was a bit better today. The previous matches my opponents have been big servers.”

If Murray holds on to his position, he will qualify for a seventh straight year for the prestigious season-ending tournament, although he pulled out following back surgery in 2013.

The Scot improved to a 6-0 winning record against the former 12th-ranked Troicki, who is now 127th after returning from a one-year doping suspension in July.

Murray dropped serve while leading 3-2 in the opening set on the only break point he faced but was in control of the match throughout.

Troicki saved a break point at 1-1 and five more at 2-2 before losing his serve but he levelled the score the next game.

Another break at 4-4 helped Murray win the first set, and the Scot added two more in the second to smoothly wrap up the win.

Murray started this week ranked ninth in the race to the Finals, 25 points behind Milos Raonic, who lost in the first round of the Kremlin Cup in Moscow.

One player who has wrapped up his place in London is US Open champion Marin Cilic, who is the fifth player to qualify.

The Croatian defeated Kei Nishikori in New York to become one of the most unexpected grand slam champions of recent years. That made him a near certainty for the O2, with one place reserved for a major winner even if they finish outside the leading eight players of the season.

Cilic joins Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Stan Wawrinka in having sealed his place.

In Moscow, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova beat Katerina Siniakova in straight sets to set up a Kremlin Cup final against Irina-Camelia Begu of Romania.

Russian Pavlyuchenkova, the sixth seed, dominated the Czech qualifier from start to finish, winning 6-2, 6-2 to reach her tenth career final on the WTA tour.

Earlier, Begu battled to a 7-6 (5), 1-6, 6-3 win over fourth-seeded Lucie Safarova of the Czech Republic. It will be Begu’s first final since beating Donna Vekic in Tashkent in 2012.