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Sunday, August 16, 2009

Murray splits the ranking difference between Roger, Rafa

Montreal - Andy Murray split the difference between Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal as the Scot shot into the number two ATP ranking with his defeat of Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 6-4, 7-6 (10-8) for a finals place at the Montreal Masters Saturday.

Murray's victory means the 23-year-old will stand second in Monday's list behind Federer. Nadal, who missed two and a half months as he rested injured knees, was knocked down to third.

"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," said Murray.

"I've put in a lot of hard work to get to this stage, and I keep working hard to go one step farther."

"In terms of rankings it's the biggest step that I've made so far," said Murray, who is bidding for a fifth title of the season when he plays the winner from Argentine Juan Del Potro or Wimbledon finalist Andy Roddick.

Nadal, beaten in the Montreal quarter-finals Friday by Potro, took over number one from Federer last August before the Beijing Olympics but lost it after being beaten in the French Open fourth round by Robin Soderling.

The Scot won the first set, firing a forehand winner on his second set point to take the opener.

The second set went strictly on serve as Tsonga's big hitting determined the pace of play.

The Frenchman took it into a tiebreaker, with Murray forced to recover from 4-2 down before saving two Tsonga set points.

Tsonga saved a match point with a low lob, which Murray's racket touched, putting it out of play.

The Scot third seed notched his third ace to set up another match point and leaped for joy at his achievement seconds later as the Frenchman returned long after just under two hours.

"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 okay with that."

Murray's move will mark the first time in four years that someone other than Federer or Nadal has entered the top two on the ranking list.

Australian Lleyton Hewitt moved to second behind Federer in July 2005 for a brief period. (dpa)