Andy Murray celebrated becoming the new world number two by claiming his first win over Novak Djokovic in two years to claim the Montreal Masters title. The Briton prevailed 6-4 4-6 6-3 in a thrilling three-hour contest to grab his second ATP 1000 title of the year.
The former Wimbledon and US Open champion stormed into a first set lead and despite Djokovic squaring the match, Murray eventually outlasted the nine-time grand slam winner. The decisive moment came as he saved six break points in game five on his way to taking the third and deciding set.
Djokovic's first Masters final defeat for three years sees Murray secure his 11th tour title, going level with Pete Sampras. Victory works as ideal preparation for next week's Cincinnati Masters and the US Open which starts on 31 August and could pit the duo against each other again.
Having won each of their last eight meetings, Djokovic was the resounding favourite ahead of his 28th career duel with Murray. The pair had met three times in 2015 alone, with Djokovic taken to five sets by the Brit at Roland Garros two months previous.
Murray would pose a different threat altogether on a hard court in the Montreal heat though. Due to be installed as he new world number two when the ATP rankings are released on Monday [17 August], the 28-year-old was aiming to add a third Canada Open title to his resume.
Having blown away number four seed Kei Nishikori in the semi-final for the loss of just three games, Murray carried over that form into the early stages of his latest encounter with Djokovic. Murray broke at the sixth time of asking in the fourth game for a 3-1 lead after a series of devastating backhands.
After saving two break points with Murray leading 4-1, Djokovic used his powers of recovery as inspiration to level the set. The wavering accuracy of Murray's serve allowed the Serbian a foothold in the seventh game, with his powerful groundstrokes eventually drawing himself level.
But Murray would have the last word, ending a run of three straight Djokovic games before taking the second of two break points as the number one seed mishit a forehand. The Scot had lost three times to Djokovic when taking the first set and knew his grip on a second Masters title of the year was far from secure.
Eight successive points at the start of the third set gave Djokovic the initiative but Murray recovered to break back at 3-3. The two-time major winner however found his serve to be undoing again as Djokovic broke back immediately.
The world number one took the two games required to square the match without delay to set up a decider. Temperatures were approaching 50 degrees in Montreal yet little could match the intensity as the match slipped into a third hour.
It would be Murray who would deal with the pressure of the third set the best, breaking for a 3-0 lead with some of his best tennis of the year. Djokovic was seemingly unable to keep with the British number one but he then produced a typically almighty response, creating six break point chances which Murray swatted away before taking an 17-minute game.
Having landed that huge psychological blow, a despondent Djokovic had no answer to Murray who went on to take the title but only in the dramatic circumstances in-keeping with the match as he saved two break point before converting his fifth match-point. Though a victory which comes before the main event in New York in a fortnight's time, a first win over Djokovic since 2013 lays down a significant marker ahead of the final grand slam of the year.