Murray tops Tsonga in Vienna, Cilic powers through Nishikori in Basel

AP Photo/Ronald Zak
AP Photo/Ronald Zak


ATP Vienna

With his third title this month, Andy Murray has gotten himself within one tournament of the No. 1 ranking.

Murray won his career-high seventh title of the season by beating Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, 6-3, 7-6 (6), in Vienna, improving to 14-0 since the U.S. Open (he received a walkover into the final from an injured David Ferrer) and 51-3 in his last 10 tournaments (1-1 in Davis Cup). Across those 10 events, Murray has nine finals and all seven of his titles.

Murray eventually squandered a break seized to start the second set and grew crankier as Tsonga settled into the match, but The Muzzard tightened the screws when he had to in the breaker.

The 29 year old Scot can overtake Novak Djokovic atop the ATP rankings if he either wins Paris-Bercy next week and Djokovic fails to reach the final, or if he reaches the final and Djokovic fails to reach the semifinals.

Relevant results

Murray struggled to beat Martin Klizan and Gilles Simon, rolled past John Isner (who appeared to have a hand blister).

Tomas Berdych: lost first round to Nikoloz Basilashvili

Dominic Thiem: after a sterling opener, laid a dud in his hometown event, losing to Viktor Troicki in straights. He was 0/7 on break points and made 44 errors.

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga: trailed by a set and faced a double break deficit to Ivo Karlovic in the semis, then saved break points and broke not once but twice to force a third without going to a tiebreaker

Others: Ivo Karlovic made the semifinals, beating Steve Johnson and Karen Khachanov; Feliciano Lopez beat Lucas Pouille before losing to Isner

ATP Basel

Familiar foes Kei Nishikori and Marin Cilic survived a tournament full of upsets to meet in the final, where Cilic blasted his way to a 6-1 opening set in under half an hour, then squeaked through in straights with a tiebreaker after a set of squandered chances for both players.

It’s the second title of the year for Cilic, who has claimed both his first career Masters 1000 and now his first career 500 title. Most importantly, he put himself in the driver’s seat for nabbing one of the final spots at the World Tour Finals:

It was an encouraging and productive week for Nishikori coming off injury in Tokyo, though his title drought dating back to February remains active, having lost all four finals since then.

Relevant results

Stan Wawrinka: the top seed snapped a four year streak of first round losses at his home event by surviving a three-setter against Davis Cup teammate Marco Chiudinelli. He would escape another close one over Donald Young, but ran out of steam to a resurgent Mischa Zverev, the best win of the elder Zverev’s career.

Milos Raonic: after a ho-hum, routine 6-3 first set, Raonic’s forehand suddenly fell apart in a first round loss to Ricardas Berankis. Berankis now has two wins against Raonic and just one against all other top 20 players.

Nishikori: played a stellar match in the quarterfinals to get his first career win over Juan Martin del Potro, and then saved match points in a comeback from a set down against Gilles Muller in the semis.

Cilic: ended Zverev’s run in a tight semifinal, beat Mikhail Youzhny, Pablo Carreno Busta and Marcel Granollers in straights to get there

del Potro: scored another win over David Goffin before falling to Nishikori. His ATP season is over (he ran out of wild cards to use at Bercy), but he’ll take the court in November’s Davis Cup final for Argentina.

Grigor Dimitrov: lost first round to Muller

News of the Week

-In advance of his first trip to the World Tour Finals, Gael Monfils withdrew from Paris-Bercy, which means Monfils missed both of the top events in France this year (missed French Open due to illness)

-Maria Sharapova will play the IPTL in December

-The whispers about Djokovic’s coaching situation will only grow louder this week:

-Roger Federer was named Forbes’ most valuable athlete:

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