ANDY Murray battled to a 5-7, 6-2, 7-5 victory over David Ferrer in the final of the Erste Open in Vienna yesterday to boost his chances of reaching the ATP Tour Finals.
The British No 1 climbed up into the eighth and final qualifying place on the Race To London, by securing a crucial 250 points, with just two ranking events remaining.
Tomas Berdych, meanwhile, consolidated seventh place after he later defeated Grigor Dimitrov to win the final of the Stockholm Open.
Ferrer, ninth in the ATP list heading into yesterday’s final, had edged the first set before Murray rallied to level and force a decider.
Both men felt the pressure with a run of five service breaks before Murray closed out victory after a little more than one hour and 40 minutes.
The opening games went with serve, before a wide forehand from Murray allowed Ferrer the first break at 4-2.
Murray then immediately broke back himself, clinching the second break opportunity as Ferrer’s return was out, then held his next service game to level at 4-4.
However, there was more frustration for Murray in the crucial 11th game, which he handed to Ferrer following another unforced error.
Murray managed to save two set points, but was only delaying the inevitable as Ferrer closed out the first set 7-5 in just over an hour.
The Spaniard, however, failed to maintain that momentum as a couple of double faults proved costly in game three of the second set.
Murray himself needed to save three break points against his next service game before moving ahead 3-1 and then at 4-2.
Ferrer’s return into the net allowed Murray to claim a second break, with the Spaniard smashing his racket onto the floor at the baseline.
Murray forced the decider when he served out on a first set point after a forehand by Ferrer was long.
Another error by Ferrer allowed Murray an early break in the opening game. However, the Spaniard quickly broke back to level before converting another break chance on Murray’s next service to move ahead 4-2.
The pressure, though, was beginning to tell as an unlikely run of five consecutive service breaks was confirmed with a double fault by Ferrer, giving Murray the opportunity to tie the set at 5-5, which he did to love.
Murray stayed on the front foot as he forced yet another break with some aggressive baseline returns and served for the match at 6-5.
A long return from Ferrer presented a first match point, which Murray claimed with an ace wide to the left tramlines, which was corrected on Hawkeye appeal. Murray reflected on a closely-fought contest, but immediately turned his attentions towards the Valencia Open 500.
“It was an extremely difficult match. He deserved to win the first set, I deserved the second and the third could have gone either way. It was extremely close at the end. I just managed to get through,” Murray said afterwards. “We played two really close matches, David won last week in Shanghai, and whomever qualifies for the finals will deserve it.
“It is the best players over the 12 months, so we will see in the next (few) weeks, but it is going to be very close. We leave this evening for Valencia. Every tournament right now is very important.
“Maybe (I will have) one glass of champagne tonight, but not more than that.”