Andy Murray knows there can be no let up in his quest to secure a place at the season-ending ATP World Tour Finals as he heads to Valencia on the back of a hard-earned victory over David Ferrer in the final of the Erste Open in Vienna.
The British No. 1 recovered from losing the opening set yesterday to break serve three times in the decider and clinch a 5-7, 6-2, 7-5 victory in two hours and 40 minutes, which earned him crucial points in the Race to London.
Murray, 27, is now the holder of the eighth and final qualifying berth for the tournament hosted at The O2, with Tomas Berdych’s win against Grigor Dimitrov in the final of the Stockholm Open later yesterday consolidating the Czech’s seventh position.
The margins, though, are slim heading into the last two ranking events of the regular 2014 season, the Valencia Open 500, where Murray will play, and the Swiss Indoors Basel preceding the BNP Paribas Masters, which carries double the qualification points.
Some six players – Kei Nishikori, Berdych, Ferrer, Murray, Milos Raonic and Dimitrov – are realistically left chasing the three remaining places, with Marin Cilic, who yesterday won the Kremlin Cup in Moscow, qualified as a Grand Slam winner, from the US Open.
“The next few weeks are extremely important – everyone is playing next week,” said Murray. “I just need to win as many matches as possible to keep hold of the eighth spot or go higher.”
Murray has been battling to regain top form again this year, the 2013 Wimbledon champion having fallen down the world rankings to No. 11, but he claimed the inaugural Shenzhen Open title at the end of September and now after Vienna has some 30 ATP Tour wins.
He added: “I was starting to feel good at the US Open a few months ago and I wanted to try and continue that through until the end of the year.
“Obviously, London would be very nice if I can get there, but it is also important for seedings at the Australian Open.
“To be seeded in the top eight there can make a big difference to the draw and hopefully I will be able to do that.”
Ferrer, meanwhile, still harbours hopes of making it to London – the Spaniard is in ninth place but only 100 points behind the Scot going into Valencia.
“I have reached the final (here), so it is a big positive,” said Ferrer, who had beaten Murray in the third round of last week’s Shanghai Rolex Masters.
“Andy played more aggressively than I did in the crucial moments and he deserved to win.
“Of course, I am disappointed as I lost the match having had a 5-3 lead (in the third set).
“I have a chance (to qualify for London). There are two more weeks, which are important to get to London.
“I will try and be more positive next week.”