Britain’s Andy Murray beat Roberto Bautista Agut in straight sets to win the Shanghai Masters and edge closer to Novak Djokovic in the world rankings.
The Scot recovered from a stutter in the first set to win 7-6 (7-1) 6-1 against the Spanish world number 19.
Bautista Agut beat Djokovic in the semi-finals, but Murray ultimately eased to his sixth title of the year.
Murray, 29, is now 915 points behind the Serb, increasing his chances of finishing 2016 as world number one.
It is the third time he has won the Shanghai Masters, which gives him 1,000 ranking points.
Murray, who also won the China Open on 9 October, has now won his past 23 sets over the two tournaments and the recent Davis Cup tie with Argentina.
“In the last few months, I have won a lot of matches and made improvements,” Murray told Sky Sports. “I have been moving forward better and changed the direction of the ball better. I have also come up with some bigger serves when I have needed them.
“My goal wasn’t to finish number one at the end of this year but in the early parts of next year there is an opportunity – 900 points doesn’t seem like loads.
“But Novak will win matches. He is the best player in the world. I don’t think he has lost an indoor game in a long time.”
Murray overcomes first-set wobble.
Murray’s superiority was apparent from the start, with his first point a powerful ace, and he looked on course to close out the first set with minimum fuss after breaking Bautista Agut to take a 4-3 lead.
However, serving at 5-4, he lost three set points before his opponent levelled the match again with a strong forehand.
The Briton put away three consecutive aces for 6-6 and then dominated the tie-break, winning seven points in a row.
A string of Bautista Agut errors put Murray a break up at the start of set two, but to the Scot’s obvious frustration he gave it straight back with a miscued forehand.
But the Spaniard twice double faulted to go a break down before handing over yet another break, making victory a formality for Murray who buried his first championship point with an overhead smash.
Analysis – Murray showing Djokovic-style form
Andy Murray is showing the end-of-season form usually associated with Novak Djokovic.
He has won 23 sets in a row since losing to Juan Martin del Potro in the Davis Cup semi-final, and heads to Vienna in a week’s time with the chance to make further inroads into the Serb’s rapidly evaporating lead at the top of the world rankings.
Djokovic is not due to play until the Paris Masters, an event he has won three years in a row and four times in total. But were Murray to win in both Vienna and Paris [he has never won the Paris title, and fatigue may become an issue] then due to the vagaries of the way the rankings are calculated, he would become world number one if Djokovic failed to reach the final in the French capital.