September 26, 2014 / 2:59 PM / 3 years ago

ATP World Tour Finals race hots up as Murray reaches Shenzen semis

Sep 3, 2014; New York, NY, USA; Andy Murray (GBR) returns a shot to Novak Djokovic (SRB) on day ten of the 2014 U.S. Open tennis tournament at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

(Reuters) - Andy Murray moved a step closer to his first title in more than a year with a 6-3 7-5 defeat of Slovakian Lukas Lacko to reach the semi-finals of the Shenzen Open on Friday.

The Briton, trophy-less since winning Wimbledon last year, eased past the world number 85 to set up a clash with Argentina’s Juan Monaco who earlier ousted French third seed Richard Gasquet 7-6(7) 6-4.

Murray is facing a battle to qualify for the year-ending ATP World Tour Finals and needs a healthy haul of points from his remaining events this year to make the eight-man London finale.

His cause was boosted earlier in the week when Spain’s David Ferrer, one of the players he is vying with for one of the five remaining slots, crashed out early.

Murray, ranked 11th in the ATP world rankings and also in the Race standings, took a wildcard to compete in Shenzen and it could prove a fruitful decision seeing as he is now clear favorite to land the indoor title.

Should he win the title he would move to 10th in the standings but would still need to overhaul the likes of Canadian Milos Raonic and Czech Tomas Berdych, as well as Ferrer, to make sure of appearing at the year-ender.

Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal have already booked their London tickets with Australian Open winner Stanislas Wawrinka, U.S. Open winner Marin Cilic and Japan’s Kei Nishikori well on the way to joining them, leaving a fight for the two remaining places.

The other semi-final in Shenzen will be between Spain’s Tommy Robredo, who beat Italian Andreas Seppi 6-4 6-7(5) 6-3, and Colombian Santiago Giraldo who beat Serbia’s Viktor Troicki in straight sets.

THE RACE TO LONDON:

1 Novak Djokovic        8150-qualified

2 Roger Federer         7020-qualified

3 Rafa Nadal            6645-qualified

4 Stanislas Wawrinka    4795

5 Marin Cilic           3935

6 Kei Nishikori         3675

7 David Ferrer          3535

8 Tomas Berdych         3510

- - - - - - - - - - - -

9 Milos Raonic          3440

10 Grigor Dimitrov      3335

11 Andy Murray          3155

12 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga   2650

Reporting by Martyn Herman, Editing by Ossian Shine

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