Second seed Andy Murray became the second player to win the Shanghai Rolex Masters a third time when he prevailed 7-6 (1), 6-1 against 15th seed Roberto Bautista Agut in Sunday’s final.
Murray, who is the only player to contest in four Shanghai finals, joins outgoing defending champion Novak Djokovic with the distinction of displaying three Shanghai trophies at home.
Murray won the title at Qi Zhong stadium in 2010, 2011 and 2016. Djokovic won his three in 2012, 2013 and 2015.
The victory gives Murray a sixth title for the 2016 season and a 41st career title. He stands at 6-4 in finals played this year.
Murray came into Shanghai with momentum on his side having won the Beijing title the previous week. He’s currently on a 10-match winning streak and has won 20 consecutive sets.
“I thought that I did feel like I played better this week than last week,” Murray said. “In all of the matches I was hitting the ball pretty clean. Obviously I think I played four top 20 players or top 25 players this week. And, yeah, played some really good tennis against all of them.”
Among Murray’s prizes this season is a second career Wimbledon title, a second consecutive Olympic gold medal, and a Masters 1000 trophy at Rome. No other player has successfully defended an Olympic gold singles title before Murray managed the deed in Rio this summer.
His impressive season has put him in position to eventually push Djokovic out of the No. 1 spot, but he’s taking it step-by-step.
“I will try and finish this year as strong as I can,” Murray said. “And next year if the opportunity is there to reach No. 1, then I want to try and take it.”
Bautista Agut is the third Spaniard to attempt to win the Shanghai title but fail in the championships match. The others were Rafael Nadal in 2009 and David Ferrer in 2011.
Despite not being able to take home the winner’s trophy, Bautista Agut had the biggest win of his career when he upset a world No. 1 for the first time in his career. The Spaniard survived a 6-4, 6-4 semifinal against Djokovic to post his first win against the Serb in six matches played.
“Was not easy for me to handle all the emotions I had this week,” Bautista Agut said. “For me, was not easy to feel perfect on the court and in (my) first final appearance in Masters 1000.”
The highlighted drama of the one hour, 36 minute final came when Andy Murray was serving at 5-4 for the first set.
It was his third set point of that 10th game when Murray hit a second serve he took to be a service winner. Bautista Agut thought otherwise and challenged the call, which showed the ball was actually out – Murray had double-faulted. Going from feeling he won the set to deuce was a bit unnerving and Murray dropped his serve.
Both of the players held serve to love in the next two games – Murray with aces on his final three points – to force the tiebreaker. That’s where Murray took over control of the match by allowing Bautista Agut to win only the opening point in the tiebreaker.
In a duel between unseeded doubles teams , the American duo of John Isner and Jack Sock claimed a 6-4, 6-4 victory over Henri Kontinen of Finland and John Peers of Australia to become the 2016 Shanghai Rolex Masters champions.
Isner and Sock had quite the week in taking down three seeded teams – seventh seeds Treat Huey and Max Mirnyi, fourth seeds Feliciano Lopez and Marc Lopez, and second seeds Bob and Mike Bryan.
“We both definitely prefer singles, but we also have a lot of fun playing with each other in doubles,” Isner said. “I think that’s the No. 1 reason why we did so well this week.”