THERE is only one way to climb the mountain: one step at a time. There is only one way to bring down a giant: one blow at a time. Andy Murray today will be officially named world No 1 and franked that honour by bringing down John Isner in the final of the Paris Masters, winning 6-3, 6-7 (4-7), 6-4.

The 6ft 10ins tall Isner sent his routine barrage of ballistic missiles towards the Scot but Murray, showing admirable patience and brilliant reflexes, managed to break the American’s serve twice to win his first title in Paris and head to the ATP World Tour Finals in London as the best player in the world.

Murray, a superb returner, has a fine record against big servers and his victory last night means he has beaten Isner on all eight occasions they have met. It was, though, a tense, close match. Murray grabbed the only break point offered in the first set and held off Isner to take the early lead. He faltered in the second set tie-break with a double fault helping Isner achieve parity.

However, the third set showed the Scot at his obdurate best. He put the Isner serve under pressure. He forced break points in the American’s first two service games. The giant responded by blasting down serves at up to 140mph and forcing himself out of adversity.

But Murray engineered a break at 5-4 and Isner volleyed into the net to give Murray his sixth ATP title during a season in which he also won Olympic gold and Wimbledon.

The match showed glimpses of Murray’s wonderful ability. A lob over Isner was almost absurd in its impertinence and the Scot was brilliant in flicking deft backhands cross-court in the face of heavy artillery. But it was, more pertinently, an exhibition of how Murray can find a way to win when players seem to be on a roll.

Isner, playing the best tennis of his career, was placing 80 per cent of his first serves in play and this is a statistic that can normally ensure victory. However, the Scot took his chances when offered, displaying both uncanny anticipation and calmness in execution. He inexorably piled on the pressure in the final set and it was the giant who bowed.

Isner, who required treatment for a knee injury, looked weary as he faced a Murray who was bouncing on the spot, running between points and jogging at the change of ends.

The message was undeniable. Murray was saying: “I am fit, I am not going away, I will prevail.”

It was no surprise he did so with a weary Isner unable to return a powerful backhand.

Murray later thanked his team and his family, saying: “This has been an incredible journey to get to the top of the rankings. I could not have done it without you. They make a lot of sacrifices to allow me to compete and travel the world. I will work as hard as I can to continue getting better.”

Isner was predictably gracious. “Well done to Andy for the title and getting to No 1 in the world. What an incredible achievement,” he said. “Every single week I am in the same locker room as you, and see how hard you work – you deserve it.”

There will be the briefest of rests for the Scot before he prepares for the Tour Finals next week. The summit has been achieved but the journey continues.

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