You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

'Race is on for world No 1'

Sky Sports logo Sky Sports 11-10-2016

Andy Murray made a statement in Beijing and now we have a real race on for the right to be world No 1 at the end of the year, says Barry Cowan. 

Murray took Novak Djokovic's China Open crown on Sunday, but that's not all that the Scot is after as he closes in on the Serb's No 1 ranking.

The 29-year-old did not drop a set throughout the tournament and beat Grigor Dimitrov in the final to claim his fifth title of the year and close in on Djokovic.

Already in 2016 Murray has claimed his second Wimbledon crown and defended his Olympic title while he also reached the finals of the Australian and French Opens, although he was unable to lead Great Britain to a second consecutive Davis Cup as they lost to Argentina in the semi-finals.

Sky Sports tennis expert Cowan said: "He's gone on record saying becoming world No 1 is something he would love to achieve and when you can play a tournament like he did at the beginning of the week and go on to win it, he looked right from the word go. He's looked like a player that came to Beijing to win a title and got better and better."

Getty © Provided by BSkyB Getty

Cowan expects a Murray-Djokovic showdown in the final of the Shanghai Masters on Sunday as the best players in the world converge on the event which has 1000 points on offer for the winner.

"There are question marks about Djokovic because he hasn't played that level in recent months, but that's not going to last. He's going to come back at some stage and be back to near his best," he said.

"It's really exciting for everyone that we really have got a race on for number one which hasn't been the case before.

"Even now it's important that Andy doesn't let Djokovic get away from him. He's closed the gap, but he still needs to keep doing better than Djokovic.

"If they do play on Sunday then it's kind of a match that Andy needs to win if he wants to be world No 1 this year.

"If he doesn't finish No 1 this year then he's still got the first three or four months next year to do it.

"The way Andy is playing then yes, I think he can do it, but Djokovic is still the best player in the world when he's at his best.

"Even though Andy is enjoying this great run he still hasn't been able to beat Djokovic with the exception of Rome. If someone is going to overtake Djokovic in the next year or so it is going to be Murray. He is the only alternative."

More From Sky Sports

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon