Shanghai: Awesome Andy Murray sealed his third straight title and guaranteed that he will leapfrog Roger Federer to number three in the world rankings after a hard-fought 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 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 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 US 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 before achieved.

Murray has been ranked as high as number two in the world but his highest year-end finish is number four.

Murray's successful defence 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.

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.