ANDY Murray claimed an impressive victory over Juan Monaco at the Shenzhen Open in China to reach his first final since becoming the 2013 Wimbledon champion.
The 27-year-old Scot was made to work hard in his semi-final, losing the first set before a strong turnaround saw him take charge of the second and win nine games in a row for a 2-6, 6-3, 6-0 result over his Argentine opponent.
The win for Murray, seeded second, boosts his bid to qualify for the ATP World Tour Finals in London as he chases points as well as his 29th career title.
The British No.1 started the week in 11th place in the race, with only the top eight players guaranteed to qualify.
Murray looked like he was struggling at the beginning of the match, but he started to take charge and kept ahead in the second set before sweeping through the decider.
In today’s final Murray will face world number 22 Tommy Robredo after the 32-year-old Spaniard saw off Colombia’s Santiago Giraldo with a straightforward 6-1, 6-4 victory earlier.
Murray was delighted reach his first final in 15 months.
He said: “The turning point was when we were 3-3 in the second set, but, before that, he was dominating the match.
“I found it very tough in the sun, it’s extremely hot and humid and I’m not used to that where I come from. I spend a lot of time in England, it’s pretty cold there most of the time – but I came through.”
Looking to today’s final, Murray said: “It’ll be a very tough match. Tommy’s a very experienced player. He’s played some very good tennis this year.
“He beat [Novak] Djokovic a few weeks ago in Cincinnati and he’s always a very difficult player to beat so I’ll need to play a good match if I want to win.”
At the Wuhan Open, Petra Kvitova repeated her Wimbledon victory over Eugenie Bouchard to land the title. After her resounding grand slam final triumph over Canadian Bouchard in London in July, there was more of the same treatment from Czech left-hander Kvitova as she posted a 6-3, 6-4 win in China.
The third seed’s success in the first-ever staging of the Wuhan tournament made sure of her place at the season-ending WTA Finals in Singapore, with Bouchard on the brink of joining her.
It gave Kvitova a third title in 2014, after previous trophy runs at Wimbledon and New Haven, and a 14th in the 24-year-old’s career.
She joins Serena Williams, Maria Sharapova and Simona Halep in the Singapore field, with four places still to be filled.
Five-times grand slam singles champion Martina Hingis could also earn a place in Singapore, but in doubles.
The 33-year-old Swiss and her Italian playing partner Flavia Pennetta landed the Wuhan title together, beating Zimbabwean Cara Black and France’s Caroline Garcia 6-4, 5-7, 12-10.
Victory puts Hingis and Pennetta in contention for a top-eight finish in the Road to Singapore, and they will look to edge closer next week at the China Open.