Nadal Closes In On Federer After Toronto Win

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 157 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 and is potentially just one week away from ending Federer’s 234 week reign (since February 2004) at the top spot.

“Every player wants to be No. 1, no? I would love to be No. 1, but I am No. 2 right now,” said Nadal. “I’m very happy for be No. 2. Because with my titles, with my points, in a normal situation I, well, would have been No. 1 before. So I think I have to be happy, very happy anyway if I am No. 1 or No. 2. Because if I am No. 2 it’s because in front of me there is amazing player like Roger (Federer)”.

The victory is Nadal’s 30th ATP singles title, making him the third youngest player – at the age of 22 years, one month and 24 days – to capture 30 titles. He is behind only Bjorn Borg (21 years, 7 mos., 9 days) and Jimmy Conners (22 years, 20 days). His record in ATP singles finals now stands at an impressive 30-8 – four of those losses have come against Federer.

Mallorca native Nadal leads the ATP circuit with 61 match wins (61-7 record) and seven titles this season. The Manacor resident has won 29 straight matches since falling second round to Juan Carlos Ferrero at Masters Series Rome on May 7. He has since gone on to capture his first title at Masters Series Hamburg (d. Federer), his fourth successive Roland Garros title (d. Federer) and his first grass-court title at Queen’s Club (d. Djokovic), and to defeat five-time defending champion Federer in the Wimbledon final.

Source (including photos): ATP TENNIS

~ by pipsqueak08 on 29 July 2008.

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