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Murray back in form when it matters and closes in on London finals

Andy Murray continues his rich run of form by winning the Valencia Open, putting him firmly in the driving seat to make it to the ATP World Tour Finals in London’s O2 Arena next month.

The Scotsman has now leaped to fifth in the Race to London after his gruelling three-set win over Tommy Robredo 3-6 7-6 (9-7) 7-6 (10-8) in the final, earning him 500 points. Murray also knocked out Tour Finals rival David Ferrer in the semis.

It now makes him the highest yet-to-qualify player on the list, with four places still up for grabs following Rafael Nadal’s withdrawal from London. Novak Djokovic, recent Swiss Open champion Roger Federer, Stan Wawrinka and Marin Cilic have already assured a place for the season-ending event.

However, there is still one competition to go, and it just happens to be a Masters event, with the winner to earn a whopping 1000 points.

Murray has never won, nor reached the finals of, this event in Paris, but will hope to emulate his British predecessors Tim Henman and Greg Rusedski, who were champions there in 2003 and 1998 respectively. He is the third-favourite at 11/2 to take the title, though.

The 27-year-old, along with all the 16 seeded players, has been given a first round bye, but will likely face Frenchman Julien Benneteau, who is odds-on at 4/9 to beat Lu Yen-Hsun (13/8).

Scotsman Murray could face his recent nemesis Ferrer (champion in 2012) in the semis, but will probably have to get past world number one and holder of this event Novak Djokovic (6/4 title favourite) in the quarters first.

Besides Murray, there are still five other stars that can qualify for the four remaining spots for the finals. In order, in the Race to London, they are Kei Nishikori, Tomas Berdych, Ferrer, Milos Raonic and Grigor Dimitrov, who are all in the Paris Masters draw.

Only shock results at the Paris Masters would prevent Murray reaching the ATP World Tour Finals, so expect him to qualify for the seventh straight time. He pulled out of last year’s edition, though.