Beijing, China (4E Sports) – Rafael Nadal has regained the top of the men’s world rankings after getting an easy passage to the final over injured Tomas Berdych in their China Open semi-final Saturday at the National Tennis Center.
Trailing 4-2 in the opening set, Berdych tweaked his back, called for medical time-out, and had a brief return before realizing he could not finish.
“This is a great year, one of the best years of my career without any doubt,” Nadal said. “It will be a great finish to the season if I am able to finish the season at number one spot.”
The 27-year-old Spaniard, who boosted his grand slam singles tally to 13 this year by winning the French and US Opens, has not been ranked number one since July 2011.
The semi-final victory extended Nadal’s winning run to 21 matches and another win on Sunday will give him his first China Open title since 2005.
Serbia’s Novak Djokovic, who will lose top spot when the new rankings are announced on Monday, defeated Frenchman Richard Gasquet in the second semi-final 6-4, 6-2.
The top-ranked Serena Williams advanced to the women’s final with contrasting wins. Williams earned a straightforward 6-2, 6-2 victory over Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland
Meanwhile, Jelena Jankovic of Serbia rallied for a 6-7, 6-1, 6-1 win over Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic.