Nadal, Djokovic Fight it out For No. 2 in Hamburg Semifinals

Posted on May 16, 2008

The Top 3 players in the South African Airways ATP Rankings are in the semifinals for the fourth time this season, including the third in an ATP Tennis Masters Series, this one being in Hamburg.

This is the first time since the ATP Rankings began in 1973 that the Top 3 ranked players are in the semifinals in Hamburg. World No. 1 and four-time Hamburg champion Roger Federer takes on unseeded Italian Andreas Seppi in the first semifinal and No. 2/last year’s finalist Rafael Nadal meets No. 3 Novak Djokovic in the other semifinal. The last time the Top 3 seeds advanced to the semifinals in Hamburg was in 1992 with No. 1 Stefan Edberg, No. 2 Boris Becker and No. 3 Michael Stich (they were ranked No. 2, 4 and 5 at the time).

Big 3 in Semifinals – Federer, Nadal and Djokovic are playing in the semifinals together for the fourth time this season (the third in an ATP Masters Series) and seventh overall since last June at Roland Garros. Djokovic has won three of the last four titles when they have reached the semifinals together. Last year, the trio led the ATP circuit in titles – Federer (8), Nadal (6) and Djokovic (5).

No. 2 on the Line – The winner of Saturday's semifinal between Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic will be No. 2 in next week's South African Airways ATP Rankings and the No. 2 seed going into Roland Garros. The 20-year-old Serb moved to within 310 points of Nadal in the South African Airways ATP Rankings after winning in Rome last Sunday. Nadal will drop his '07 Hamburg runner-up points (350) and Djokovic will lose his quarterfinal points (125) from last year’s Hamburg. Nadal has ranked No. 2 a record 147 consecutive weeks since July 25, 2005. Djokovic has been No. 3 every week since July 9, 2007. The last player to rank No. 2 before Nadal was Lleyton Hewitt on July 18, 2005.

Italian Semifinalist -- Seppi, who survived a three hour and 13 minute marathon victory over Nicolas Kiefer in the quarterfinals, is the first Italian to advance to the semifinals or better since 1977 when Paolo Bertolucci captured the title (d. Manuel Orantes). The last Italian to reach an ATP Masters Series semifinal was Filippo Volandri in Rome last year. An Italian has never reached a Masters Series final (since 1990). (ATP Digital Services)

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