Andy Murray must summon a repeat of his Wimbledon final heroics if he is to claim the world number one ranking for the first time on Saturday.
Murray will meet Milos Raonic – the man he beat to claim his second All England Club title in July – in the semi-finals of the BNP Paribas Masters in Paris.
After Novak Djokovic’s quarter-final defeat to Marin Cilic on Friday, Murray knows victory will be enough to lift him to the top for the first time in his career.
It will cap a remarkable rise for the Scot but after dispatching Czech Tomas Berdych in straight sets he insisted on playing down the possibility.
Murray told Sky Sports: ” My goal isn’t to get to number one this year – I was looking at the beginning of next year as the chance to do it.
“If it happens this week, great. I’m happy with the way I’m playing just now. It’s been a great few months for me. I’ll try to finish this week as best I can.”
Murray saved seven set points in an extraordinary first-set tie-break before eventually going on to overcome Berdych 7-6 (11/9) 7-5 and book his place in the last four.
Earlier, Djokovic had handed the Scot the initiative in the race for the summit after going down 6-4 7-6 (7/2) to feisty Croatian Marin Cilic.
Djokovic’s hold on the world number one position had looked increasingly precarious after he had required treatment on a knee injury on his way to an unconvincing last-16 win over Grigor Dimitrov on Thursday.
And tackling Cilic proved a match too far, with the man who had lost all 14 of his previous matches against Djokovic never relinquishing the advantage he gained when dispatching his second set-point chance in the opener.
Djokovic said on atptour.com: “He (Cilic) definitely played better today and he deserved to win – I wasn’t on the level I could have been on.
“I was in the good position to take the match into a third set, and then two double faults. In the important moments I wasn’t able to deliver.”
American John Isner completed the last four line-up after beating compatriot Jack Sock 7-6 (7/6) 4-6 6-4.