Montreal:Andy Murray defeated Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 6-4, 7-6 (10/8) in the semi-finals of the ATP Montreal Masters to rise to second in the world for the first time in his career.
The Scot will replace Rafael Nadal in the slot behind Roger Federer when the new ATP rankings are released. "It's great, in terms of rankings it's the biggest step that I've made so far," said the 22-year-old, who will be bidding for a fifth title of the season when he plays the winner of the second semi-final between Argentina's Juan Martin Del Potro or Wimbledon finalist Andy Roddick.
"I played consistently well this year, so bar winning a Slam, I've done enough to justify being number two and getting closer to hopefully one day becoming number one - it's one of my goals.
"I've put in a lot of hard work to get to this stage, and I keep working hard to go one step farther."
Murray had needed to go farther than Nadal this week in Canada, and his trip to the final insured his promotion after Nadal lost in the quarter-finals on Friday to Del Potro.
The change makes Murray the first player other than Nadal or Federer to rank number two since July 18, 2005, when Australia's Lleyton Hewitt stood second behind Federer.
"This is very special for me," said Murray. "Roger and Rafa have been one and two for the past five years. I played well and I'll try to justify this new ranking, but it will be very difficult.
"For five years it's been Rafa and Roger on one and two, they are I think the two best maybe of all time. So it's pretty special to get in between them."
Murray reinforced his status as the highest-ranked British player since the rankings began in 1973 as he won his 49th match of the season, equalling Novak Djokovic for most on the ATP in 2009.
"It's always tough against him, because he dominates or he dictates what happens in the match because of the way that he plays," Murray said of 2008 Australian Open finalist Tsonga.
"I just had to stay solid and make enough balls for him to make a few mistakes and me to come up with a few big returns."
Murray recovered from an early break to win the opening set. In the second-set tiebreaker he trailed 4-2, and saved two Tsonga set-points before claiming the victory on his second match point.
"Andy's a very good player and it's tough to go to the net every time against him," said Tsonga. "But that's fine, I'm OK with that."