Nikolay Davydenko won the inaugural Shanghai Masters title in 2009, and after that it was all about Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray. Two contemporaries claimed six of the next seven editions of the penultimate Masters 1000 tournament of the season to position themselves as the most successful players.
Andy lifted the trophy in 2010 and 2011 and bounced back in 2016 to claim the third crown. He defeated first-time Masters 1000 finalist Roberto Bautista Agut 7-6, 6-1 in one hour and 37 minutes for his 13th Masters 1000 crown.
Rafael Nadal and Stan Wawrinka lost before the quarter-final stage, and it should have been a battle between Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray, as in the entire 2016 season. Djokovic had a significant advantage in the ATP ranking list over Murray after win Roland Garros.
Still, Andy was a player to beat in the second part of the season, winning nine tournaments and ending the year with 24 consecutive wins and world no. 1 honour. Starting the Shanghai campaign with three convincing wins, Murray was broken four times against Gilles Simon in the semi-final.
Still, he closed out the match in straight sets after an excellent performance on the return. He had an open path to the title when Roberto Bautista Agut stunned Djokovic 6-4, 6-4 in the other semifinal. It was his third meeting and the third victory for Andy, who broke the opponent’s resistance in the second set and lifted the trophy.
The Briton served only 52% and kept his second serve safe. She suffered two breaks and stole the opponent’s serve four times to emerge the winner. Murray tamed his shots more efficiently, making more winners and fewer unforced errors and having the advantage in the shorter and medium rallies.
Bautista Agut kept in touch at the longest points. Still, despite a lot of effort ahead, he couldn’t deliver his best tennis in the breaker, which turned out to be the turning point of the entire match.
Andy Murray claimed the third title in Shanghai over Roberto Bautista Agut in 2016.
We saw six holds in a row without any chance for returns early in the match, with Andy scoring a break at 3-3 to advance after Roberto’s backhand error.
The Briton held on after a service winner to increase his lead to 5-3 and had three set points on serve in the tenth game to take home the opening goal. Bautista Agut fended them off and broke with a forehand winner to level the score at 5-5, prolong the set and gain some serious momentum.
Carried away by this momentum, the Spaniard fired another forehand winner in game 11 to advance, forcing Andy to serve to stay in the set. Like a true champion, Murray fired four winners to introduce a tie break and scored seven points in a row to clinch it with a comeback winner after a grueling 64 minutes.
Andy held in the first game of the second set with an ace and broke Roberto at love in the second game after the Spaniard’s backhand error. Murray sprayed a forehand error at 2-0 to lose serve and regained his composure a few minutes later to control the scoreboard again.
The Briton grabbed a break after the Spaniard’s double fault, going 4-1 up with a service winner and grabbing another break in game six. Murray surged to the top after a huge 5-1 win and celebrated his third crown in Shanghai.
Furthermore, an in-form Brit notched his 54th victory in the last 59 matches to close the gap with Novak Djokovic in a battle for the ATP throne.