Fri | Sep 22, 2017

Top-ranked Murray takes Paris Masters title

Published:Monday | November 7, 2016 | 11:00 AM
Andy Murray returns the ball to John Isner during the final of the Paris Masters tennis tournament at the Bercy Arena in Paris yesterday. Murray won 6-3, 6-7 (4), 6-4.

PARIS (AP):

Celebrating the best season of his career, Andy Murray cemented his rise to No. 1 by beating John Isner 6-3, 6-7 (4), 6-4 yesterday to win the Paris Masters for the first time.

It was his eighth title this year, his 14th in Masters overall. It also ended Isner's bid for a first Masters title.

"I felt really nervous before the match," Murray said, despite having beaten the big-serving American in all seven of their previous career meetings.

Murray will officially replace Novak Djokovic¥ at the top of the rankings when they are published today.

"It might only be for one week, so, I might as well try and enjoy it," Murray said, "because I could lose it at the (ATP) Tour Finals and never be there again."

The 29-year-old Murray is still getting accustomed to his new-found status.

"I don't really know if it's sunk in or not," said Murray, who is a three-time Grand Slam winner and a double Olympic champion. "It feels different (to) when I had won a Grand Slam or (the) Olympics," especially in the number of congratulatory messages.

"More than I've had after any match I have played in my life," Murray said. "It's very nice because you have won the respect of the players."

Murray recently beat Isner 6-1, 6-3 in the quarter-finals of the Erste Bank Open in Vienna, but this was thoroughly contested.

"We played last week and the difference was huge," Murray said.

Using 18 aces and hitting plenty of inside-out winners on his massive forehand, Isner generated considerable pressure, but he also wasted six break points overall.

RARE DIP

In the second set, he was 4-3 ahead and 40-0 up on Murray's serve but failed to punish the Briton - last year's runner-up to Djokovic¥.

But in a rare dip, Murray double-faulted during the tiebreaker and Isner profited to take the set.

Isner saved break points on his first two service games of the third set, hanging on as Murray restored his superiority.

Then, serving to stay in the match, the American double-faulted to trail 0-30. He won a tough first point and then hit yet another ace to make it 30-30.

Isner sank a difficult volley into the net, giving Murray a first-match point. With Isner on second serve, Murray dominated a brief rally, pinging a pass down the line that Isner patted into the net with the ball close to his body.

It was a hard-fought victory and Isner stood with his head down at the net, waiting to congratulate Murray.

Murray has won four consecutive tournaments, taking his career tally to 43.