Rafael Nadal becomes favorite for ATP throne

Rafael Nadal becomes favorite for the ATP throne

At 36 years and three months, Rafael Nadal could climb the ATP throne again for the first time since February 2020 after the US Open. The 22-time Major winner sits in the driver’s seat after Daniil Medvedev’s elimination in the fourth round against Nick Kyrgios.

Medvedev and Stefanos Tsitsipas have left the no. 1 Battle, Nadal and two youngsters in the running. Carlos Alcaraz and Casper Ruud need to reach the final to overtake Nadal, with the young Spaniard aiming for his first Major final and the Norwegian his second after Roland Garros.

Medvedev felt the pressure of the opening round as he had 2000 points to defend and four rivals looking to topple him. The Russian lost to Kyrgios in four sets and Nadal is the favorite to replace him on the ATP throne.

Nadal would become the second oldest No.1 player after Roger Federer, remaining competitive for almost two decades and being among the best players in the world despite numerous injuries and setbacks.

Rafael Nadal is in a good position to take the ATP throne.

Rafa started his 16th US Open with a 4-6 6-2 6-3 6-3 triumph over world No. 1.

198 Rinky Hijikata. Nadal sealed the deal in three hours and eight minutes after being broken once in the opening game. Hijikata got off to a great start but couldn’t maintain that level in sets two, three and four. Nadal has broken it five times from ten opportunities to emerge at the top and advance to the second round for the 16th of as many trips to New York.

The Spaniard hit 43 winners and 22 unforced errors and should be pleased with his performance in just his second game after Wimbledon. Rafa made a slow start again in the second round against Fabio Fognini before prevailing 2-6, 6-4, 6-2, 6-1 in two hours and 43 minutes.

The Italian led 6-2, 4-2 after 68 minutes before Rafa shifted into higher gear, winning 16 of their last 19 games to seal the deal in under three hours. Nadal played better after the first and second serves and took 24 points more than Fognini.

Fabio claimed 40% of the return points and delivered six breaks of serve. The Spaniard responded with over half the return points on his tally. He converted nine of 14 opportunities to control the pace in the final 100 minutes and advance to the next round.

Rafa reached the last 16 for the 12th time in New York after a 6-0, 6-1, 7-5 win over Richard Gasquet, beating the Frenchman for the 18th time in as many clashes on the tour. Nadal made the difference with his first serve.

He defended six out of seven break points and increased the pressure on the other side. Rafa hit 35 winners and 23 unforced errors, claiming more than half of the return points and converting them into seven breaks from 15 opportunities.

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