Andy Murray rose to second in the world rankings last night after seeing off Jo-Wilfried Tsonga to reach the final of the Rogers Cup in Montreal.
The Scot rises above Rafael Nadal with only Roger Federer, who had been beaten by Tsonga in the previous round, now ahead of him. The 22-year-old has ended the monopoly the Spaniard and the Swiss, who have held on to the top two spots since July 2005.
He becomes the highest ranked British player since the official ATP Tour world rankings began in 1973. The Frenchman pushed Murray hard but he kept himself in the game with impressive reserves of energy and resolve to claim a 6-4 7-6 victory, winning the secondset tie-break 10-8.
A fortuitous net cord helped Murray to break for a 3-1 lead in the first set, and although Tsonga threatened an immediate response, he wasted three break points and Murray held on.
The Scot served for the set at 5-3 but was unable to hold. However, Tsonga then wasted all his hard work by gifting Murray two break point chances with Murray taking the second, and with it the set, with a cross-court forehand. Tsonga improved on his service game in the second set but he continued to make little impression on the Murray delivery.
The Scot then cranked up the pressure in the eighth game of the second set but he was unable to convert either of two break point opportunities. It went to a tie-break with Tsonga claiming a mini-break for a 3-2 lead which he then squandered by hitting a dropshot into the net. Another mini-break gave him a 5-4 lead and the chance to serve out the set. But again Murray hit back and although he had to save a set point, a netted backhand from Tsonga gave Murray his first match point .
The Frenchman managed to stave it off with a clever drop volley-lob volley combination. Tsonga wasted another set point before Murray clinched the match with a fine return which his opponent could not scoop back over the net. In the final Murray will play either Juan Martin Del Potro or Andy Roddick.
Murray was jubilant at his rise above Nadal in the rankings. “To get past Rafa is incredible,” he said. “Roger and Rafa have shared the one and two ranking for the last five years. They are so consistent and I didn’t know if I was ever going to get there. Just one more to go now.” He added: “It’s difficult to play him [Tsonga], he dictates everything. He hits huge forehands, drop shots and has a good feel. You just try to stay solid and he came up with a few errors at the end.”