China win boosts Andy Murray’s ATP finals hopes

Andy Murray beat Somdev Devvarman to reach the last eight at the Shenzhen Open. Picture: Getty
Andy Murray beat Somdev Devvarman to reach the last eight at the Shenzhen Open. Picture: Getty
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Andy Murray believes his second round win over Somdev Devvarman at the Shenzhen Open yesterday will stand him in good stead to reach the ATP World Tour finals.

The 27-year-old faces a battle to reach the showpiece event at the O2 Arena in London as he currently stands 11th in the Race rankings with only the top eight sure to qualify.

With every point counting Murray accepted a wild card to compete in China and sailed into the last eight in his first match since his US Open quarter-final defeat to Novak Djokovic.

Murray broke twice in the first set without reply and despite being broken in the second he converted both of his own break point opportunities to move through 6-3, 6-3 in one hour and 21 minutes.

Murray said: “I thought I did pretty well. He [Devvarman] makes very few mistakes – he’s a solid player and he moves well.

“It was very humid out there. It was good to have a tough workout like that.”

In the quarter-finals Murray will play Slovakian world No 85 Lukas Lacko, who beat Ricardas Berankis of Lithuania 6-4, 7-6 (7-1). Top seed David Ferrer suffered an upset as he was beaten 6-3, 6-4 by Serbian qualifier Viktor Troicki. Troicki fired 13 aces on his way to victory in just 55 minutes. Colombian sixth seed Santiago Giraldo ended the run of 18-year-old Australian Thanasi Kokkinakis 6-4, 6-3.

In Kuala Lumpur, second seed Ernests Gulbis was made to work for his place in the quarter-finals of the Malaysian Open.

The Latvian world No 13 was pushed into a deciding set before beating Philipp Petzschner of Germany 6-3, 6-7 (3-7), 6-1 in two hours and three minutes. But there was a surprise for third seed Leonardo Mayer with the Argentinian going down 7-6 (7-5), 6-4 to Finnish veteran Jarkko Nieminen.

Spanish seventh seed Pablo Andujar came through 6-4, 6-7 (6-8), 6-3 against Michal Przysiezny of Poland, while Germany’s Benjamin Becker beat Pierre-Hugues Herbert of France 6-4, 7-6 (7-4).

Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova ended the dream run of France’s Caroline Garcia with a clinical performance to reach the semi-finals of the Wuhan Open in China.

Kvitova, the highest seed standing at the hard court tournament after the exits of top two seeds Serena Williams and Romanian Simona Halep, defeated Garcia 6-3, 6-4 in the $2.4 million (£1.5m) inaugural WTA event.

The 24-year-old Czech broke Garcia, ranked 49 in the world, once in each set to win the quarter-final.

Garcia, 20, accounted for former world No 1 Venus Williams and Agnieszka Radwanska en route to the last eight in the tournament but too many unforced errors hurt her yesterday.

The victory also kept Kvitova on course for qualifying for the year-ending WTA Finals in Singapore. The twice Wimbledon champion will become the fourth player to qualify for the eight-woman championships if she triumphs in Wuhan. Serena Williams, Maria Sharapova and Halep have already booked their places.

In the semi-finals, Kvitova takes on Ukraine’s Elina Svitolina who beat seventh seed Angelique Kerber 6-4, 7-6 (7-3).

Canadian Eugenie Bouchard and former world No 1 Caroline Wozniacki also boosted their Singapore qualification hopes.

Sixth seed Bouchard, eighth in the Singapore race, marched into the semi-finals with a 6-3, 7-5 win against Frenchwoman Alize Cornet. She will next face Wozniacki, who is ninth in the race and trails Bouchard by just 106 points. The Dane had to work hard before beating Swiss Timea Bacsinszky 4-6, 6-2, 6-3 in the last match on centre court.