Murray To Face Dimitrov In Beijing Final

Scot cruises past David Ferrer

Top seed Andy Murray was in dominant form on Saturday as he dismissed David Ferrer 6-2, 6-3 to reach the final of the China Open in Beijing.

The Scot, already assured of his place at the season-ending Barclays ATP World Tour Finals, is closing the gap on Novak Djokovic in the battle for No. 1 in the Emirates ATP Rankings. Murray, who is looking to reach the summit for the first time, could move to within 1,555 points of the Serb with victory at this ATP World Tour 500 tournament.

"I felt like if I could find a way to get through the first couple of matches, I'd start to feel better and play better here," said Murray. "Thankfully that's been the case so far this week.

"Try and play another high-level match again tomorrow. But it's very positive leading into Shanghai, and hopefully I can finish the year strong."

Murray will play for his 40th tour-level title on Sunday when he faces Grigor Dimitrov in the final. The pair will face off for the 11th time, with Murray leading their FedEx ATP Head2Head series 7-3. They have split their two meetings this season, with Dimitrov prevailing in Miami before Murray beat the Bulgarian in the US Open fourth round.

"[Dimitrov] has been playing a lot better obviously the past few months," said Murray. "Obviously he's got high ambitions, I'm sure. The past few months, he's done well. He had obviously a very good win against Rafa yesterday. It will be a hard match."

The Dunblane native is through to his ninth final of the season (4-4 record) and is looking to add to his titles in Rome (d. Djokovic), The Queen’s Club (d. Raonic), Wimbledon (d. Raonic) and the Rio Olympics (d. del Potro). Murray has an ATP-best 59-9 match record in 2016.

Murray recorded his seventh straight win over Ferrer and improved to a 14-6 lead in their FedEx ATP Head2Head series as he defeated the Spaniard in one hour and 31 minutes.

After going behind an initial break of serve in the first set, Murray reeled off five straight games to seal the opener. The Scot let slip a break lead in the second set, but regained the initiative with a break in the sixth game and went on to claim victory. Murray is yet to drop a set this week in Beijing, where he is through to the final for the first time.

"I did well," said Murray. "I was obviously 2-1 down with a break in the first set. I played very well. Even the period in the second set where he came back a bit, when he broke me, there was a lot of long points. Really good tennis I thought.

"Thankfully I got the break at 3-2. That was a big game because he had some chances to win that game. I had a couple of break points. Got the momentum back on my side straightaway and finished it off pretty well."

The 34-year-old Ferrer was bidding to reach the Beijing final for the second time, following a runner-up finish in 2010 (l. to Djokovic). The Spaniard, a winner of five ATP World Tour titles last season, has lost his five semi-final matches in 2016.

Dimitrov was granted a walkover into the final when Milos Raonic was forced to withdraw due to an ankle injury sustained in his quarter-final win over Pablo Carreno Busta on Friday.

"Yesterday during my second match in the evening, I rolled over my ankle, obviously caused it some level of a sprain," explained Raonic, who played both his second round and quarter-final matches on Friday.

"I did a test this morning, which showed I had a partial tear on the outside of my ankle. I was told to give it a try. I tried to warm up just before the match like I would normally, and I was unable to play. Therefore, it seemed to be the correct decision to have to withdraw from this match I was looking forward to this evening."

Dimitrov had reached the final four with his first win over Rafael Nadal. The Bulgarian will look to win his first ATP World Tour title since 2014, having finished runner-up in Sydney and Istanbul earlier in the season.

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