Andy Murray underlined his status as the new world number one by battling past John Isner to win the Paris Masters 1000 tournament Sunday — his eighth title of the season.
Murray, crowned No.1 after semifinal opponent Milos Raonic withdrew through injury, needed two hours 17 minutes to dispatch the giant Isner 6-3 6-7 6-4 in a gripping final.
Murray, winning for the first time in the French capital, was claiming his 14th Masters title and third of the season. A late season charge has seen him win four straight tournaments in a 19-match unbeaten run to usurp Novak Djokovic at the top of the rankings.
“This has been an incredible journey for me to get to the top of the rankings,” he said at the trophy presentation.
Isner, who produced some of his best tennis as he leveled at one set all and forced a decider, also paid his tribute.
“I have to congratulate Andy to get to no.1 in the world that’s an incredible achievement.
“Every week I see you in the same locker room and see how hard you work,” added the American.
Isner certainly made Murray work hard after dropping the opening set to a single break and kept producing big serves in the second to force a tiebreak.
He took it with inspired play, but Murray kept his patience and when Isner had a temporary lapse when serving at 4-5 down in the decider he pounced to ruthless effect.
He now faces a showdown with defending champion Novak Djokovic in the ATP Tour Finals in London from Sunday week, with the end of year No.1 ranking on the line as well as pride.