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August 18, 2009

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Murray stops Del Potro in Montreal

ANDY Murray celebrated his move to No. 2 in the rankings with a 6-7 (4), 7-6 (3), 6-1 win over Juan Martin Del Potro in Sunday's final at the US$3 million Rogers Cup.

"I love winning tournaments, it's great, and every player will tell you the same thing," Murray said. "But I've never been to No. 2 in the world before, so that's new to me. I've won a couple of Masters Series (events) now, and it still feels great. But getting to No. 2, maybe because it's something different, it means a little bit more."

The 22-year-old Scot was assured before the final of leapfrogging Rafael Nadal into the second spot.

The victory gave Murray an additional 400 ranking points to get him to 9,250 compared with 11,040 for top-ranked Roger Federer and 8,665 for Nadal.

The third-seeded Murray matched his career best from last season with his fifth tournament win of the year and improved his record to 11-4 against top-10 players this season. He took time off to train in Florida after a bitterly disappointing loss to Andy Roddick in the Wimbledon semifinals, and Murray couldn't have drawn up a better return to the court.

"It's a perfect way to come back," he said. "It goes one of two ways. Losing to Roddick, there's no shame in that to start with. I could have gone away and become a worse player and not work on anything, or go and practice harder and become better so the same thing doesn't happen the next time around."

Del Potro was looking for his second straight tournament victory after winning in Washington the preview week. The Argentine player squandered an opportunity to jump past Roddick into fifth in the rankings.

The match turned when Del Potro called for the trainer to work on a sore shoulder while up 6-5 in the second set. After the medical timeout, Murray held serve at love and won the tiebreaker.

Del Potro said he still hasn't reached the point where he can consider himself to be in the same class as Murray, Nadal or Federer.

"I need to work hard to be like them," Del Potro said. "I can play against them, but I need to improve my game a lot if I want to be top-four, or top-two or No. 1."

Del Potro left the court for several minutes following that second set and then fell behind 0-4 in the third. Del Potro did break Murray to get it to 4-1, but called for the trainer again. Murray broke Del Potro to go up 5-1 and then served out.

Del Potro said a combination of that nagging shoulder injury, the physical strain of playing nine matches in 13 days and the stifling heat on Sunday in Montreal was too much for him to overcome physically. "I was so tired (in the third set)," he said. "I had my chances in the second set tiebreak, but I didn't take them."

After needing 2 hours, 17 minutes to play the first two sets, Murray needed only 25 minutes to win the decisive third set.


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