ATP World Tour Finals: Three stops in China can be way to London for Andy Murray

Tournament at the O2 begins in November

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Andy Murray is aiming to reach London via China. Over the next three weeks the 27-year-old Scot hopes to make major steps towards qualifying for the ATP World Tour Finals at the O2 Arena in November as he plays three successive tournaments in China.

Following the US Open, which ended a fortnight ago, most of the top men will not be returning to competition until next week at the earliest, but Murray has work to do if he is to make the elite field for London. The eight places go to the players who have earned the most ranking points in the calendar year.

Murray dropped last week to No 12 in the world rankings, his lowest position for more than six years. He will try to make up lost ground at this week’s Shenzhen Open, which is new to the men’s calendar, next week’s China Open in Beijing and the following week’s Shanghai Masters. He has played well on the Asia swing in the past and would love to rediscover his form of three years ago, when he won three tournaments – at Bangkok, Tokyo and Shanghai – in the same three weeks of the season.

Seeded second behind David Ferrer, Murray has a bye in the first round at Shenzhen, after which he will met the winner of today’s meeting between India’s Somdev Devvarman and China’s Gao Xin. Thereafter he could meet Gilles Simon in the quarter-finals and Richard Gasquet in the semi-finals.

Heather Watson is also playing in China this week. The British No 1 was due to play her opening match at the Wuhan Open this morning against Italy’s Sara Errani. Watson was promoted into the main draw after Li Na’s retirement. Victoria Azarenka has pulled out of the tournament and will not play again this year because of the foot injury which has troubled her for several months.