Andy Murray insists he is not thinking about the world No.1 spot after beating Gilles Simon in straight sets to reach his second successive final in Asia.
The 29-year-old will play Roberto Bautista Agut in the final of the Shanghai Masters after the Spaniard shocked current No.1 Novak Djokovic in the first semi-final.
It will be Murray’s career-best tenth final of the season following last week’s success at the China Open in Beijing and he is continuing to close the gap on Serbian Djokovic at the top of the world rankings.
Although Murray is confident of becoming the world’s best player, he is realistic in his chances of achieving that feat this year.
He said: “I said that I want to try to get to number one, but this year is going to be extremely difficult.
“The loss [by Djokovic] today helps me a little bit, but I’m still quite far away from him, so I’m not thinking about the number one ranking this week or right now.
“The start of the year Novak had was incredible and because it was three, four months ago, it’s almost like people are forgetting that he won the Aussie Open, Indian Wells, Miami, Madrid and French Open, so he’s a long way ahead of me.
“I just want to finish this year as best as I can, it’s been the most successful in my career. The last few months have been some of the most consistent I have been, so I just want to keep it going until the end of the year and finish as strong as possible.”
The Scot admitted he found the going tough against Simon, despite winning his tenth straight match without dropping a set.
He said: “Obviously there were a lot of breaks of serves and Gilles is a tough guy to play against. Not many players play like him, he hits the ball extremely flat, better than anyone.
“He’s extremely quick around the court, he changes direction extremely well and its sometimes difficult to get the balance – whether to go for your shots or play possum and slow it down a bit.
“It’s not always easy to get the tactics right, but I managed to get through it.”
On Bautista Agut, right, he added: “He’s had some very good wins this week. He beat [Jo-Wilfried] Tsonga in the round before so he’s obviously playing very well.
“He pushes the top guys a lot, he’s improving all the time and he’s going to be highly motivated for his first Masters Series final, so a lot to play for for both of us and it should be a great match.”
Bautista Agut, the 15th seed, beat Djokovic in straight sets, 6-4 6-4, a landmark victory for the 28-year-old. Prior to this clash, he had a 0-5 losing record against Djokovic and a 0-5 record when playing world number ones. He showed no regard for the statistics, though, and broke the Serb four times during what is arguably the best win of his career.
“I can’t describe how I feel. I’m so happy,” the Spaniard said.
“I played really good tennis this week, and I hope to play the same tennis tomorrow in the final.
“I tried to force him to play his best tennis. I think in the first set he played some good tennis. He played a little bit better than me.
“But then I knew that I had to increase my level. I had to play more aggressive... And then at 5-4, I started to play more aggressive and I started to play better tennis.”
Caroline Wozniacki will compete for a 25th Tour title today after defeating Jelena Jankovic in the semi-finals of the Hong Kong Open.
The fifth-seeded Dane dropped seven games in beating defending champion Jankovic 6-3 6-4 and next faces the unseeded Kristina Mladenovic.
She saw off Daria Gavriolva, beating the eighth seed 7-5 6-3.
“I was very happy with the way I played – I think it was high level, from both of us,” Wozniacki told the ATP’s official website afterwards.
“Wins like this always give a lot of confidence. I’m really pleased that I was able to win in two sets.”
In Linz, Austria, Madison Keys withdrew from her semi-final of the Generali Ladies event against Viktorija Golubic citing illness.
The third seed’s withdrawal gave Golubic a route to the final against Slovakian Dominika Cibulkova who saw off Carla Suarez Navarro 6-4 6-3.