Andy Murray clinched the No. 2 world ranking in men’s tennis despite struggling with his serve in Saturday’s semifinal victory over Jo-Wilfried Tsonga at the Montreal Masters.
The British third seed won 6-4 7-6 (10-8) in the Canadian hardcourt event to overtake Rafael Nadal and set up a final clash with either American fifth seed Andy Roddick or sixth-seeded Argentine Juan Martin Del Potro. Nadal, who lost the No. 1 ranking to Roger Federer when he was unable to play at Wimbledon due to knee problems, made his comeback in Montreal but was beaten by Del Potro in the quarterfinals on Friday. “To get past Rafa is incredible,” Murray told Sky Sports Xtra. “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.” Murray, who lost to Roddick in the Wimbledon semifinals, needed all his guile to defeat the hard-hitting Tsonga, who shocked Federer in the last eight of the hardcourt tournament. He took a 3-1 lead but then needed to save three break-points, and failed to serve out at 5-3 as the Frenchman battled bravely.
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However, the 2008 Australian Open finalist then gifted Murray two break-points, with the Scot sealing the set on the second with a crosscourt forehand. Neither player was able to break each other’s serve in the second set, despite Murray’s poor first-service statistics – he put in only 42 percent of his opening efforts, but won 68 percent of points on his second attempts. Tsonga twice claimed mini-breaks in the tie-breaker to lead 3-2 and 5-4, but serving for the set he squandered the chance and then handed Murray his first match-point — which he saved with a clever lob volley. Tsonga wasted another set-point and Murray fought back to clinch victory. “It’s difficult to play him, he dictates everything,” Murray said. “He hits huge forehands, drop shots and has good feel. You just try to stay solid, and he came up with a few errors at the end.”