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PARIS – Andy Murray extended his impressive run of form to reach the quarterfinals at the Paris Masters and book his place in the ATP Finals on Thursday.
After missing last year's season-ending tournament following surgery on his back, the eight-seeded Scot pushed hard to qualify for the indoor event for the seventh straight year, winning three titles over the past five weeks.
His clinical 6-3, 6-3 win over No. 9 seed Grigor Dimitrov at the Palais Omnisports guaranteed him a berth at the O2 Arena from Nov. 9-16.
Murray was in control throughout, losing only two points on his first serve as he took a measure of revenge following his loss to Dimitrov in the quarterfinals at Wimbledon this year.
Already qualified for the finals, third-seeded Stan Wawrinka failed to serve out the match before losing a 6-7 (2), 7-5, 7-6 (3) to Kevin Anderson in a match lasting nearly three hours as the hard-hitting South-African rallied to advance to the quarterfinals in Paris for the first time.
"I should have won," said Wawrinka, who has been hampered by a virus this week and coughed a lot during his press conference. "I just rushed. In the end, I made stupid mistakes, but I'm not panicking. I'm still Top 4 in the world and I have a Masters to play, a Davis Cup final on clay, which will be totally different from usual tournaments."
Wawrinka will be teaming up with his Switzerland's teammate Roger Federer in the Davis Cup final against France from Nov. 21-23 in Lille.
"This year I had ups and downs that were very high or very low," added Wawrinka. "But I wouldn't change anything compared to any other year of my career. I can still play well in the Masters, win the Davis Cup, and the year will be fabulous."
Wawrinka, who was two points from the match when leading 5-4, 30-0 in the decider, lost his third straight meeting against Anderson following losses at Indian Wells and Toronto earlier this season.
Since his quarterfinals exit at the U.S. Open, he has won only two matches and will travel to London with his form in question.
"I can't say everything is fine because I'm not winning many matches, but there is nothing much I can do about it," Wawrinka said. "I'm not going to change my racket or change my strings just because I'm not winning matches right now."
Anderson, who hit 18 aces against Wawrinka, will next face Tomas Berdych, who stayed on course for qualifying for the finals for the fifth straight year by beating Feliciano Lopez 7-5, 6-3.
Berdych, the 2005 champion at the Palais Omnisports, hit eight aces and saved six of the eight break points he faced to move one match away from the season finale. Berdych will be guaranteed to play at the O2 Arena if he reaches the semis in Paris.
Fourth-seeded David Ferrer also kept alive his hopes of making it to London with a 6-1, 6-2 defeat of Fernando Verdasco.