BRITAIN’S Andy Murray will face Julien Benneteau tomorrow as he begins his Paris Masters campaign knowing a quarter-final berth will see the former Wimbledon champion secure a place at next month’s ATP World Tour Finals in London.
The 27-year-old took a huge stride towards easing his passage to the O2 spectacle by beating Spain’s Tommy Robredo in a gruelling and dramatic final at the Valencia Open on Sunday.
By the time his clash with Frenchman Benneteau rolls around, Murray will crucially have enjoyed two full days of rest after his epic showdown with Robredo which the Scot edged 3-6, 7-6 [9-7], 7-6 [10-8] after three hours and 19 minutes of action.
Benneteau set up a showdown with Murray after cantering past Yen Hsun Lu of Taiwan in straight sets, 6-3, 6-4, in the first round of the Paris Masters last night.
World No1 Novak Djokovic, meanwhile, is intent on retaining his Paris Masters title as the Serbian star looks to shrug off the challenge of Roger Federer and cement his place at the summit of the 2014 world rankings.
Federer boosted his chances of a late assault with victory over Belgium’s David Goffin to claim the Swiss Indoor title for a sixth time on Sunday, a result which sees the Swiss move to within 500 points of Djokovic in the ATP standings.
“The goal is to finish the year as No1 of the world, of course it’s a big objective,” said Djokovic, who will contest his first tournament since the birth of his child, Stefan, last week. “This year, Federer came out strong again, competing for grand slam titles and now competing for No1 of the world. And I never thought for a second that he’s not a competition for No1 of the world.”