Federer v Nadal: Cincy No. 1 Rank Breakdown

Posted on July 28, 2008

CINCINNATI, Ohio, U.S.A. -- Rafael Nadal took a giant step towards dethroning Roger Federer at the top of the South African Airways ATP Rankings by capturing his 12th ATP Masters Series shield at the Rogers Cup in Toronto on Sunday, defeating Nicolas Kiefer 6-3, 6-2 in the title match.

Nadal, who has ranked No. 2 for a record 158 weeks, will become the new No. 1 next Sunday if he
wins the title at the Western & Southern Financial Group Masters in Cincinnati and Federer loses
before the semifinals. After Federer's second round loss to Gilles Simon earlier this week, Nadal has now cut the gap to a mere 300 points.

If there is no change at the top of the South African Airways ATP Rankings in Cincinnati, a change could come August 18 due to a calendar shift this season to accommodate the Olympics. Last year, ATP Masters Series events in Canada and Cincinnati were played two weeks later in the season than they are being played this year. Because points earned by players count towards their rankings for 52 weeks, the 850 points Federer earned last year by reaching the Canada final and winning the
Cincinnati title will continue to count towards his ranking during the same Masters Series tournaments this year.

Come August 18, those 850 points will no longer count towards Federer's ranking. In contrast, Nadal
will drop 230 points (225 points for reaching the Rogers Cup semifinals in 2007 and five points for
losing his first match in Cincinnati in 2007). Federer and Nadal have been No. 1 and 2 in the South African Airways ATP Rankings every week since July 25, 2005 when Nadal became No. 2. Federer has ranked a record 235 consecutive weeks at No. 1 (since Feb. 2, 2004).


Nadal leads the circuit with 61 match wins (61-7 record) and seven titles this season. Since losing in the second round to Juan Carlos Ferrero at Masters Series Rome on May 7, he has won 29 straight matches and five titles (Hamburg, Roland Garros, Queen's Wimbledon, Toronto). Prior to that loss, he had won back-to-back titles at Monte-Carlo and Barcelona.

The 22-year-old has reached the final at all nine ATP Masters Series events with the exception of
Cincinnati, where he has a 3-4 lifetime record. He lost in the 1st RD in his first two event appearances in 2004 (l. to Chela) and '05 (l. to Berdych), reached the quarterfinals in '06 (l. to Ferrero), and retired with a left arm cramp in his second round opener against Juan Monaco last year. Nadal, who won back-to-back ATP Masters Series titles in Monte-Carlo and Rome the last three years, will attempt to become just the third player (since 1990) to win both the Canada and Cincinnati titles in the same year. American Andre Agassi first accomplished the feat in 1995, and Andy Roddick mirrored the achievement in 2003.

Nadal is also attempting to clinch his seventh different ATP Masters Series title and his 13th overall. Only Agassi has managed to win seven of nine different shields, capturing a record 17 total ATP Masters Series titles during his career. Federer ranks second behind Agassi with 14 titles.


Federer will look to rebound this week as the top seed when he faces the winner between American
Robby Ginepri and qualifier Jonas Bjorkman in his second round opening match. The Swiss faces a challenging road to the final, seeded to face No. 6 seed and two-time Cincinnati champion Andy Roddick in the quarterfinals. Roddick is fourth among match wins leaders at this event (25-6 record), trailing compatriots Pete Sampras, Michael Chang and Agassi.

Federer has a 13-5 lifetime record in Cincinnati, and is attempting to become the first player to successfully defend the title since Agassi in 1995-96. He defeated Roddick for the title in 2005 and American James Blake in the '07 final. He enters with a 43-10 season match record and two ATP titles (Estoril, Halle). He is looking to capture his first title on hard courts and first ATP Masters
Series title of 2008.


World No. 3 Novak Djokovic will try to become just the fourth player since 1990 to win all four ATP
Masters Series titles on North American hard courts, joining Agassi, Chang and Federer. The Serb won the Miami and Canada titles last year, and added the Indian Wells title to his collection in March.
Djokovic has never advanced beyond the second round in Cincinnati (1-3 record), and fell to 2003
champion Carlos Moya at the first hurdle last year.

He plays the winner between Italian Simone Bolelli and qualifier Kevin Anderson in his opening match, and is seeded to face Blake in the quarterfinals. Blake will play either Toronto runner-up Nicolas Kiefer or semifinalist Gilles Simon in the second round.

Federer, Nadal and Djokovic have won 12 of the last 15 ATP Masters Series titles in 2007-08, with
Nadal winning six times, Djokovic four and Federer twice. One of the threesome has reached the final in each of the last 15 Masters Series tournaments.
-- Courtesy ATP World Tour