LONDON — Andy Murray qualified for the semifinals of the ATP finals on Friday by beating Stan Wawrinka 6-4, 6-2.
Murray, who needs to do better than Novak Djokovic this weekend to finish the season as the top-ranked player, broke Wawrinka late in the first set and twice at the start of the second.
Murray took over the No. 1 ranking at the Paris Masters this month, but Djokovic can still overtake him if the second-ranked Serb does better at the season-ending tournament. Djokovic has already qualified for the semifinals.
Murray will next face Milos Raonic on Saturday, while Djokovic meets Kei Nishikori.
In Friday’s late match, Nishikori will play Marin Cilic, but the result won’t affect the semifinals.
MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) Two-time former champion Victoria Azarenka has been awarded a wild card for the Australian Open.
Azarenka, who won the Australian Open in 2012 and 2013, has been involved in a custody dispute involving her son Leo, who was born last Dec. 19.
She hasn’t competed anywhere since Wimbledon, where she lost to Simona Halep in the fourth round on July 10. The dispute with her former partner started shortly after Wimbledon ended.
Azarenka has played only six matches this year and is ranked 208th.
Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley said on Wednesday that every assistance would be provided to the former No. 1, adding “Vika’s current situation is obviously very difficult for her and we have reached out to offer any support we can.”
The Australian Open starts on Jan. 15.
LONDON — Rafael Nadal and Garbine Muguruza have won the International Tennis Federation’s player of the year awards.
At 31, Nadal becomes the oldest ITF men’s world champion after a season in which he won a 10th French Open and a third U.S. Open.
The Spaniard also became the oldest player to finish the year at No. 1 since the ATP rankings began in 1973.
Muguruza dropped only one set en route to her first Wimbledon title and finished the year at No. 2 behind Simona Halep.
“Becoming ITF world champion in such a competitive year is amazing for me,” said Muguruza, who is also Spanish. “(Nadal) is a great role model for all of us, so it is a great moment for tennis in Spain.”