LONDON- Andy Murray kept alive his bid to reach the semi-finals of the ATP Tour Finals with a crucial 6-3, 7-5 victory in his shoot-out with Milos Raonic on Tuesday.
Murray knew he would have been eliminated from the prestigious season-ending event at London’s O2 Arena if he lost to Canada’s Raonic, but the world number six produced a strong performance to secure his first Group B win and remain in the hunt for a last four berth.
The former Wimbledon champion now has to beat six-time winner Roger Federer in his final group match on Thursday to qualify, while Raonic, having lost both matches, is almost certain to be knocked out.
“On Sunday, there wasn’t much magic. Today I came up with some good shots in the right moments. Milos didn’t serve as well as he can and that helped,” Murray said.
“It’s a nice match against Roger to look forward to. It’ll be a great atmosphere again.”
Murray’s victory also meant Federer is not 100 percent certain to make the semis despite winning both his group matches, including a 6-3, 6-2 stroll against Japan’s Kei Nishikori earlier on Tuesday.
After playing for six consecutive weeks in a successful bid to qualify for the Finals after briefly falling out of the top 10, Murray chalked up titles in Shenzhen, Vienna and Valencia to salvage his ranking.
Yet he looked totally devoid of inspiration and energy in his lacklustre loss against Nishikori on Sunday.
Murray knew he had to improve dramatically against Raonic, who had won three of their four previous meetings.
Raonic had hit 1,103 aces this year and he tried to send a statement of intent with a venomous 138mph ace in his first service game.
Murray wasn’t intimidated by the early barrage and carried the fight back to the world number eight, earning two break points in the fourth game.