Andy Murray comes up big once again when it matters most

— -- LONDON -- It was a less-than-glamorous evening for Andy Murray after a marathon win over Milos Raonic that left his knuckles bloodied and his muscles sore.

For the second time in four days, Murray spent 10 minutes in an ice bath after breaking the record for the longest three-set match in Tour Finals history.

"The ice bath that's here, they're different," the Scot explained when asked about his O2 Arena ablutions. "Some you get in and you stand in them. This one is basically like an inflatable one of the paddle pools you would put your kids in when it's hot outside in the summer. It's just filled with water, then the ice to cool it down."

While it may have looked like something his baby daughter Sophia would have been more at home in, she was tucked up at their house in Oxshott, Surrey.

It was more than two and a half hours before Murray came to press around 9 p.m., meaning he will stay at a nearby hotel before practising tomorrow afternoon at 2:30 p.m.

"The point in going home to see my family and see my daughter ... She's been sleeping about four hours ago. Not much to go back for," Murray said.

At least he got a massage from his physio afterward to cap off his postmatch routine.

He will have needed it -- after a grueling 86 matches on tour with 77 wins, he has played his two longest three-set matches of the season here this week. First he went 3 hours, 20 minutes against Kei Nishikori Wednesday, then 3 hours, 38 minutes against Raonic.

The 29-year-old mouthed the words "big heart" toward his team when he finally took his third match point Saturday.

"I fought really hard today, I fought very hard this week. I have also the last few months, too," he said.

"It would have been easy today when I was behind to have gone away a little bit, but I didn't. Even after serving for the match twice, having a bunch of match points in the tiebreak, still stayed tough, chased balls down, fought as best as I could. It was enough to get me the win."

That is the mentality that has propelled Murray to the top of the world rankings. He became the first Briton to do so last Monday, when he ended Novak Djokovic's 122-week reign.

This was just another moment the Scot came up big in a season full of those moments.

Murray has barely put a foot wrong this season. The only real blots on his copy book are the five-set September defeats to Nishikori in the US Open quarterfinals and Juan Martin del Potro in the Davis Cup semifinals.

His body had been in dire need of a rest at that point, though, after a grueling summer schedule that saw him win a third major title at Wimbledon as well as retain his Olympic gold medal in Rio, on his way to setting a then-career best win streak of 22 matches.

He has now beaten that run with his 23rd straight win coming against Raonic Saturday. This particular streak has taken in four straight titles and propelled him to No. 1, seven years and 82 days since he first reached No. 2.

Wednesday's win over Nishikori did create a surprising stat, though -- it was Murray's first match against a top-five player since his Roland Garros defeat to Djokovic in June.

"I've beat three guys in the top five in the world, which some people were not happy that I hadn't won against the top-five players," Murray said of a productive week in London. "Then it will be the top two players, then top one. There's always something that's wrong with what you're doing.

"In terms of winning against Novak or beating Novak, you can only beat the players that are in front of you. I can't do any more than that. I've done that this week.

"The guys ahead of me have had that, as well. I'm sure with Novak, it's been like, Roger's injured or Rafa's injured.

"You can only beat who you're playing against. I've done that the last few months."

On Sunday, an entire season of tennis boils down to one three-set match with the No. 1 ranking on the line. Murray will need one last big push.