Montreal: Andy Murray prized the world number two ranking from Rafael Nadal on Saturday by beating Jo Wilfried-Tsonga 6-4 7-6 to book a final clash with in-form Argentine Juan Martin Del Potro at the Montreal Masters.
Playing his first tournament since losing in the Wimbledon semi-finals, the 22-year-old Scotsman has barely put a foot wrong in Montreal, advancing to his sixth final of the season without dropping a set.
Murray will have his hands full against Del Potro on Sunday, however, the Argentine entering his first Masters Series final on the back of a 10-match winning streak after coming from behind to vanquish fifth-seeded American Andy Roddick 4-6 6-2 7-5.
Murray's win over Tsonga made him the highest-ranked British man since ATP rankings began in 1973, and also broke the duopoly Nadal and Swiss rival Roger Federer have held over the top two spots since July 2005.
"For five years it's been Rafa and Roger one and two," Murray told reporters.
"So it's such a tough thing to do because Roger and Rafa are, I think, the two best maybe of all time. "So it's pretty special to get in between them." While Murray might have expected a semi-final date with world number one Federer, it was the imposing frame of Tsonga greeting him from the other end of the court, the Frenchman having handed the Swiss a shock defeat despite trailing 5-1 in the deciding set of their quarter-final. Tsonga was again in fight-back mode on Saturday, and after conceding an early break to trail 3-1 in the first set, broke back to serve at 5-4 down.
But a feisty Murray immediately hit back with another break to claim the opening set. With neither player able to stamp their authority on the second, the set came down to a thrilling back-and-forth tie-break with Murray finally prevailing 10-8 after Tsonga netted a service return.
Del Potro has had Roddick's number in both their previous meetings, including last Sunday's final at the Washington Classic, but it was the fifth-seeded American who gained the upper hand early, clinching the opening set with ease.
The towering 6-foot 6-inch Argentine soon found his range, however, racing to a 4-0 lead to sew up the second set. Del Potro, who fired 19 aces, maintained the intensity in the tight deciding set, and broke Roddick's serve at 5-5, prompting the American to smash his racquet to pieces in frustration and surrender the match shortly after.
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