PARIS (Reuters) - Andy Murray’s recent resurgence continued when the Briton qualified for the ATP World Tour Finals by reaching the Paris Masters quarter-finals with a 6-3 6-3 win against Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov on Thursday.
After dropping outside the world top 10 following his U.S. Open quarter-final exit, Murray began a late push for a spot in the London showpiece event, which features eight of the best players this season.
The eighth seed showed he was up to the task by seeing off ninth-seeded Dimitrov, who is now eliminated from the race for the Nov. 10-16 event at London’s O2.
Murray will take on world number one Novak Djokovic for a semi-final spot after the Serbian beat Frenchman Gael Monfils 6-3 7-6(2) after 92 minutes in Thursday’s late match.
“There were no downs really in the match,” Murray told reporters after becoming the fifth player to book his place in the season finale.
”Some of the matches that I’ve had against the top, top players I had some periods in the match where my level had dropped off a little bit, and the best players capitalize on those moments.
“I didn’t have any of them today. I played well from start to finish and I made it very difficult for Grigor.”
Second seed Roger Federer dismissed French qualifier Lucas Pouille 6-4 6-4 and now faces Milos Raonic, who can still qualify for the Tour Finals after the Canadian fired 23 aces in his 7-5 7-6(7) win over Spain’s Roberto Bautista Agut.
Federer, who has won five of his 10 finals this year, extended his current winning run to 14 matches as he kept his eye firmly on the world number one spot, which he can achieved by winning in Paris if Djokovic does not reach the final.
However, third seed Stan Wawrinka was knocked out in the third round when he lost 6-7(2) 7-5 7-6(3) against South African Kevin Anderson, suffering his fourth defeat in five matches.
The Swiss, who has already booked a place in the Tour Finals, had lost his opening matches in the three previous tournaments he had entered.
A solid performance in the second round in Paris against Austrian Dominic Thiem was followed by an erratic display against the 14th seeded Anderson, who served 18 aces.
Wawrinka saved two match points to force a tiebreak in the decider, but was unable to match Anderson, who upped his level to book a quarter-final spot against Czech Tomas Berdych.
Berdych kept his Tour Finals hopes alive with a 7-5 6-3 win over Spain’s Feliciano Lopez as did sixth seed Kei Nishikori who beat Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 6-1 4-6 6-4.
The Japanese can make the season-ending event if he beats fourth seed David Ferrer in the Paris quarter finals, with the Spaniard having thrashed compatriot Fernando Verdasco 6-1 6-2.
1 Novak Djokovic 9190 - qualified
2 Roger Federer 8700 - qualified
3 Rafa Nadal* 6835 - withdrew
4 Stan Wawrinka 4895 - qualified
5 Andy Murray 4475 - qualified
6 Kei Nishikori 4445
7 Tomas Berdych 4285
8 Marin Cilic** 4150 - qualified
9 David Ferrer 4045
10 Milos Raonic 4020
* Nadal has withdrawn due to appendicitis
** Cilic qualifies as U.S. Open champion
Reporting by Julien Pretot; Editing by Toby Davis and Ken Ferris