Andy Murray now stands just two victories away from becoming Great Britain's first ever top-ranked singles tennis player after current reigning world No 1 Novak Djokovic suffered a shock 4-6, 6-7 defeat to Marin Cilic in the quarter-finals of the BNP Paribas Masters.
With his rival having last weekend added the Erste Bank Open title to his list of recent successes that also includes victories in Beijing and Shanghai, Djokovic needed to reach the final in Paris in order to ensure that Murray was unable to end his 122-week run atop of the ATP standings.
Djokovic's formidable record of 14 consecutive victories over Cilic certainly boded well, but the 12-time Grand Slam winner, who beat Gilles Muller earlier in the week before battling back from a set down to see off the spirited challenge of Grigor Dimitrov in a third-round clash yesterday (4 November), started the match in sluggish fashion.
He was broken twice in the opening set at the AccorHotels Arena and was later forced to save two match points on his own serve despite engineering a first break at 4-4 in the second. That forced a tiebreak, which powerful 2014 US Open champion Cilic took comfortably 7-2.
All eyes will now turn to Murray, who faces Tomas Berdych in his own last-eight contest tonight. If he wins that, then only Jo-Wilfried Tsonga or Milos Raonic would stand between him and that coveted No 1 spot.
After the match Cilic said of his first win over Djokovic: "I played smart tennis, obviously I had to change my game plan, we played 14 times and had some tough matches and that helped me to prepare better. I wasn't serving too big but hitting the spots and not giving him any chances.
"I kept my cool after Novak saved those two match points at 6-5. I felt I was close with the game to get some chances. It was my best tennis of the season, I made it to London yesterday (to the ATP Tour Finals at the O2) so I have a lot of tennis to go and I hope I can continue to play this well."