Murray battles past Dimitrov to clinch China Open title

Andy Murray took the first set and looked set to serve out the second when leading 5-4.

FILE: Andy Murray. Picture: Andy Murray Official Facebook Page."

BENGALURU - Andy Murray out gunned Bulgaria's Grigor Dimitrov 6-4 7-6(2) in the final of the China Open on Sunday to claim his 40th career title.

Murray closed out the match in an hour and 57 minutes to draw closer in the rankings to world number one Novak Djokovic in the battle for the year-end top spot.

The Briton is now 1555 points behind Djokovic, who could not defend his title in China because of an elbow problem, with plenty of points up for grabs at the remaining events of the season in Shanghai, Paris and the Tour finals in London.

Murray took the first set, despite winning just 30 percent of first-serve points, and looked set to serve out the second when leading 5-4 before Dimitrov fought back to force a tie break.

The Scot, who did not drop a set in Beijing, earned an immediate mini-break and went on to win his fifth title of the season.

Murray has had a busy European summer, having reached the French Open final, secured a second Wimbledon triumph, and then successfully defended his Olympic gold medal in Rio.

He is scheduled to play next in the Shanghai Masters this month.