Andy Murray will take to the court on Monday night for the first time he is officially World No.1 in the ATP rankings, taking on Marin Cilic in front of a packed London crowd at the O2 Arena. Murray, along with Novak Djokovic, are expected to cruise through their groups and meet in the final for a showdown for the top spot in the rankings.
Murray is currently on an 18 match winning streak dating back to his opening round match in Beijing. It was part of a stunning run in the second half of the year that has seen him in the final of every tournament since May with the exception of the US Open. In amongst that was eight titles, including the last 4 in Beijing, Shanghai, Vienna and most recently Paris.
It seemed likely that Murray would be facing his opening opponent here in the Paris final but John Isner had other ideas, defeating the Croatian in the semi final. The American did take it to a deciding set in the French capital but Murray managed to squeeze out the victory, winning the decider 6-4 to ensure he had a stronger lead in the year end rankings to take into this tournament.
Meanwhile, Cilic has also had a productive post-US Open run. It began with helping his team to the Davis Cup final with two singles victories and he picked up the Basel title, defeating fellow group member Kei Nishikori in the final. The aforementioned semi final loss to Isner in Paris will have been a disappointment for Cilic but he was impressive in finally defeating Novak Djokovic in their 15th career meeting.
There is no doubt that Murray is the form man right now and is a deserved favourite to win the whole event, perhaps more so after Djokovic’s shaky performance in his opener on Sunday. Despite Cilic having a win over Murray (Cincinnati F) this year, it has never been a matchup that has been kind to him with just 4 wins in 15 meetings.
Prediction – Andy Murray in straight sets