Awesome Andy Murray sealed his third straight title and guaranteed that for the first time he will leapfrog Roger Federer to number three in the rankings after a 7-5, 6-4 win over David Ferrer on Sunday.
Defending champion Murray, 24, was tested by the Spaniard but ultimately had too much for the world number five, wrapping up his eighth Masters title in one hour and 45 minutes.
The first game of the match at the Qi Zhong stadium lasted nearly 10 minutes with a succession of lengthy baseline rallies before Murray broke to seize an early advantage -- only for Ferrer to break back in the second game to level the scores.
The rest of the first set went with serve until the Spaniard double-faulted in the 11th game to give second seed Murray another break and a 6-5 lead. Murray went on to seal the set with an ace.
The second set followed the same pattern at the start, with Murray grabbing the early break only for Ferrer to pull level at 1-1 as the Scot smashed a ball into the ground in frustration.
But a horrendous missed overhead from third seed Ferrer handed the British player two break points in the following game and he made no mistake, hoisting a lob from behind the baseline to win the game before going on to seal the match.
"It's been one of the best runs of my life. I've played very, very well the last few weeks and I was very nervous today because I wanted to try and win here and defend my title. I'm very happy I managed to come through," said Murray.
Ferrer said: "Today it was impossible to beat Andy."
"Here in Shanghai I've had the best moments of my career. I reached the final in 2007 (Masters Cup) and again this year. I hope to win it next year. I know it will be difficult but Shanghai is my second home," he added.
Ferrer, 29, could not repeat the heroics of the previous three rounds, in which he had come back from a set down to win each time.
It is the third ATP tour title in as many weeks for Murray, who was victorious at the Thailand Open and Japan Open during his 15-match winning streak.
He has won 25 of 26 matches since mid-August, his only defeat coming in the U.S. Open semi-finals to Rafael Nadal, whom he beat in the Japan Open final.
Coming into the match, the Scot had won all four of his meetings with Ferrer on hard courts, including the semi-finals in Tokyo last week.
When the new rankings are issued on Monday, Murray will have just Novak Djokovic and Nadal ahead of him as he targets finishing the year as the number three player in the world, something he has never achieved before.
Murray has been ranked as high as number two in the world but his highest year-end finish is number four. He has never been ranked higher than Federer.
Murray's successful defense of his Shanghai Masters crown means that Federer, absent from Shanghai, will slip to number four -- his lowest ranking in more than eight years.
The last time the Swiss great was ranked lower than number three was way back in June 2003, the month before he won his first Grand Slam at Wimbledon.
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