Andy Murray took a step closer to overtaking Novak Djokovic as world No.1 by winning his third successive title at the Erste Bank Open in Vienna.
The Scot defeated Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 6-3, 7-6 (8/6) in the final to add to the titles he won in Beijing and Shanghai earlier this month.
Murray can top the rankings for the first time in his career as early as November 7 if he wins next week’s Masters event in Paris and Djokovic fails to reach the final.
It has been a remarkable last six months for Murray, who has now won seven titles, the most in a season in his career, and lost just three matches since the French Open in June.
His 15th win in a row did not look in any doubt for a set and a half.
Tsonga, who had won only two of 15 previous meetings with Murray, was broken in his opening service game and made far too many errors to trouble the world No.2.
The Frenchman was staring at a heavy defeat at 1-3 and 0-40 down in the second set but played some fine points to hold serve.
That proved the catalyst for a revival from the Frenchman, who recovered the break and forced a tie-break.
But it was Murray who prevailed, the 29-year-old clinching victory with his fifth ace on his second match point.