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Djokovic, Nadal Set to Battle for ATP Year-End Ranking

Article posted October 16, 2018 at 11:22 PM

Novak Djokovic’s torrid tennis leaves him just a whisker behind Rafael Nadal in the Race to London standings with Paris beckoning.

Novak Djokovic is closing in on his ultimate goal—finishing the year as World No.1 for the fifth time. The Serb says that reclaiming the No.1 ranking is a high priority for him right now, and after his title in Shanghai, he’s basically neck-and-neck with Rafael Nadal with two significant events remaining in Paris and London.

Some believe that Djokovic may play next week in Basel or Vienna, but he’s so close to Nadal in the Race to London standings he’s probably better off resting and taking his chances alongside the Spaniard at the Paris Masters and the Nitto ATP Finals.

Nadal holds the slim 35-point margin in terms of rankings points accrued in 2018, but it is the Serb who carries all the momentum as he has now won 18 consecutive matches and the last two major titles. We run out of superlatives when we reflect on the brilliant comeback that Djokovic has made since the spring. He won Wimbledon, claiming his fourth title at SW19, then rolled to the Cincinnati title to become the first player to win all nine Masters 1000 events. Next, he took the U.S. Open and for good measure, he continued his dominance in China by claiming his fourth Shanghai title.

It’s been a remarkable run of form, and the 31-year-old Djokovic could be just getting started. He’s wants to put the cherry on top of his fantastic 2018 and Nadal is the only man with a shot at stopping him.

“I am grateful that I have this achievement,” Djokovic said of winning the Shanghai title, adding: “I’m proud of it. Obviously I work hard for it, and my ultimate goal is to get to No. 1 by the end of the year.”

Djokovic is bidding for his fifth year-end No.1 finish, and so is Nadal. Roger Federer has claimed the ATP year-end ranking five times. Since Federer first claimed the year-end ranking in 2004, only once has a player other than Federer, Djokovic or Nadal finished the season No.1—Andy Murray in 2016.

“I’m in a good way,” Djokovic said. “But, you know, being No. 2 after this tournament is also a great achievement, considering, you know, the first four, five months of the year and considering I had the surgery, and where I was about four months ago and where I am today is quite an extreme opposite. I’m just cherishing that achievement and every moment spent on the court.”

Nadal has not played since he had to retire from his U.S. Open semifinal with Juan Martin del Potro due to a knee injury—and it isn’t known what form he’ll be able to finish the season in.

Djokovic has always had more success on indoor surfaces. He owns a 28-7 lifetime record at Paris with four titles, and a 31-11 record at the World Tour Finals with five titles.

Nadal is 16-13 lifetime at the ATP Finals, and 16-5 lifetime at the Paris Masters—he has never won the title at either event.

Nadal has held the No.1 ranking for the last 17 weeks and for 194 weeks in total; Djokovic has held the No.1 ranking for 223 weeks in total, but has not held the top ranking since November of 2016.

Pete Sampras holds the record for most year-end No.1 finishes with six.


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Muguruza eases through Luxembourg opener

Article posted October 16, 2018 at 11:13 PM

Garbine Muguruza has made a winning start to her campaign at the Luxembourg Open by defeating Stefanie Voegele in straight sets.


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Pouille beaten by Sandgren in Stockholm

Article posted October 16, 2018 at 10:51 PM

American Tennys Sandgren upset fifth-seeded Lucas Pouille of France 6-4, 6-4 Tuesday to reach the second round of the Stockholm Open.


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Konta upsets Mertens in Kremlin Cup first round

Article posted October 16, 2018 at 10:50 PM

Johanna Konta upset seventh-seeded Elise Mertens 6-3, 7-5 in the first round of the Kremlin Cup on Tuesday. On the men’s side, fifth-seeded Nick Kyrgios beat Andrey Rublev 6-3, 4-6, 6-4.


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Sandgren upsets fifth-seeded Pouille in Stockholm

Article posted October 16, 2018 at 9:52 PM

By The Associated Press

STOCKHOLM (AP) — American Tennys Sandgren upset fifth-seeded Lucas Pouille of France 6-4, 6-4 Tuesday to reach the second round of the Stockholm Open.


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