What a surprise, Rafael Nadal wins again, beating Nicolas Kiefer 6-3, 6-2 to claim the Toronto Masters.

I won’t go into that match now or the Cincy draw – I’ll do that later, but I am going to breakdown (or try to!) the No. 1 race which I know some of you were trying to do earlier.

From what I’ve read in ATP stories and in their rules, here’s how I understand it (and feel free to correct me if I am wrong, I am by no means an expert in this).

Entering the Canada week, Roger Federer had 6600 points to Rafael Nadal’s 5830, a lead for the Swiss of 770 points.

Since we are on 52-week rolling ranking system, points accumulated in Canada and in Cincinnati in 2007 will not be removed this year until August 11 (Canada) and August 18 (Cincy), respectively. Both events were played a few weeks later last year than this year.

On August 11 Roger will lose 350 points from his Montreal runner-up to Novak, and then on August 18 he’ll drop 500 from his Cincy title run over James Blake. So he’s defending a total 850 points this summer going into the US Open.

For Rafa, on August 11, he will drop his 225 points from the semifinals of Canada last year, and 5 points on August 18 from his second round (after a bye) retirement to Monaco. That leaves Rafa with a total of 230 points to defend before the US Open.

Neither Federer nor Nadal will drop any points this week for the July 28th rank date or the August 4th rank date. Sort of…

On to the present day…

Roger Federer, who lost in the second round received 5 ranking points from Canada. Because he received a bye in the first round he will not pick up the allotted 35 points given to second round losers. By rule, the addition of those 5 points into Roger’s “Best 18” means something has to go to make room, and Roger’s only has four events so he has room with which to work.

So Federer will add 5 net points to his previous total of 6600 giving him 6605.

Nadal will also be adding to his best 18, but what’s going to go away to make room? According to what I see it’s 25 points from Rotterdam.

That means Nadal will add 500 points for his title today, then lose 25 to make room which puts him at 6305, 300 points behind Fed’s 6605.

Next week in Cincinnati offers up the same points as Canada:

Winner: 500

R-Up: 350

SF: 225

QF: 125

3rd RD: 75

And the rankings going in will be:

Federer: 6605

Nadal: 6305

But to make room for any Cincinnati points Rafa will lose 75 points from Dubai while Roger loses a zero from Dubai.

That means Roger will effectively start Cincinnati at 6605 (6605 – 0 from Dubai) while Rafa’s adjusted total is 6230 (6305 – 75). So in real numbers entering Cincy we have:

Federer: 6605

Nadal: 6230

Roger’s real lead is thus 375 ranking points this week.

So to make up 375 points and to entertain a chance at becoming No. 1 on the August 3rd ranking, Rafa will have to win the title in Cincy with Roger losing before the quarterfinals.

By my math if Rafa wins Cincy he will jump to 6730. But if Roger reaches the quarterfinals he will also have 6730 (6605+125) resulting in a tie! And would you believe according to the ATP rules I’ve read such a tie would be broken by total Grand Slam/Masters/Masters Cup points which Roger leads Rafa in for the last 52 weeks by my count of 5955 to 5585. So Roger will remain No. 1 by reaching the quarterfinals in Cincinnati if all my math calcs and interpretation of the rules are correct.

Looking ahead…

With Canada behind us, if we jump ahead and remove the points from Canada/Cincy last year right now we get:

Nadal 6100 (6305 – 230 + 25 Rotterdam)

Federer 5755 (6605 – 850 + 0 Dubai)

So per my math Fed’s really 345 points behind Nadal for the No. 1 ranking (and the top seed at the US Open) on August 18 which isn’t a lot considering there’s still 900 points to be had (500 in Cincy and 400 at the Olympics).

But if Rafa can just stay ahead of Roger in rounds at Cincy he’ll likely clinch the No. 1 after Beijing at the latest. If Rafa keeps even with Roger at Cincy he’ll likely force the Swiss to win Beijing to have any chance to being No. 1 at the US Open.

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