ATP Race to London: Rafael Nadal pulls ahead of Zverev and Federer


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ATP Race to London: Rafael Nadal pulls ahead of Zverev and Federer

Rafael Nadal has spent 16 weeks at the top of the ATP rankings so far in 2018 but he is the leader of the ATP Race for the first time this season following his triumph in Paris and the additional 2000 points on his tally that moved him away from Alexander Zverev and Roger Federer, his main rivals in the first five months of the season. Rafa has successfully defended his Roland Garros crown and he has won 30 out of 32 matches played so far in 2018, standing at the top of the Race to Milan list with 5040 points. Playing only one tournament prior to Monte Carlo, Rafa delivered the magic on his beloved clay once again, winning four out of five tournaments he has entered to collect 4680 points in eight weeks, a feat that stayed beyond the reach of any other player on the Tour. 

Nadal is a safe passenger for the ATP Finals in November and he should be accompanied by the 21-year-old Alexander Zverev who is currently second in the ATP Race with 3495 points. The German has won 34 matches in 2018 so far and he has reached his first Grand Slam quarter-final in Paris before losing to Dominic Thiem, finishing the clay season with a rock solid 2570 points and titles in Munich and Madrid. Just like in 2017, Roger Federer opted to skip the entire clay season and he will be ready to rumble this week in Stuttgart on grass, targeting the place in the final to become world number 1 again. The great Swiss needed only three tournaments to pass the 3000-point mark so far this year, winning titles at the Australian Open and Rotterdam and losing in the final of Indian Wells after wasting match points against Juan Martin del Potro

The Argentinian is fourth on the list, 90 points behind Roger after winning already 28 matches so far in 2018 (he had 38 in 2017 overall). Juan Martin is looking good to reach his first ATP finals in five years after winning titles in Acapulco and Indian Wells and the semi-final run in Miami and Roland Garros, his best result in Paris in nine years. Dominic Thiem is a Tour leader with 35 wins and he is the fifth on the list with 2985 points, building a solid advantage over the players behind him. The Austrian won just 280 points in Monte Carlo, Barcelona and Rome but he bounced back in Madrid where he played in the final and also in the last three weeks, winning the title in Lyon and advancing into his first Grand Slam final in Paris where he lost to Rafa in straight sets. Marin Cilic is the sixth and the last player who has managed to win more than 2000 points so far in 2018, grabbing 720 points in Rome and Roland Garros to stand on 2370. 

The Australian Open finalist will have to add more points to his tally on grass and hard in the next three months but he is a clear contender for the place among the elite eight in London, especially if he brings his best tennis at the biggest events. Far behind Marin we can find Kevin Anderson at seventh place, who has won 1620 points so far from 23 wins in 2018. The South African wasted a great chance to play in the quarter-final in Paris, squandering a huge lead against Diego Schwartzman in the fourth round and finishing his clay court season on 550 points. John Isner is currently the last player who would punch a London ticket at the moment, winning 1500 points since January. More precisely, John did nothing in the first six tournaments of the season but he left that all behind when he won his first Masters 1000 title in Miami, adding the quarter-final in Madrid and the fourth round of the Roland Garros to his best results so far in 2018. 

Hyeon Chung is 120 points behind Isner, playing in seven straight quarter-finals and losing to Roger Federer in the semi-final of the Australian Open. The Korean lost in the quarters in Indian Wells and Miami and he hasn't played since losing in the opening round of Madrid, struggling with an ankle injury that also forced him to skip Stuttgart and the start of the grass season. The 25-year-old Argentinian Diego Schwartzman hasn't enjoyed the best clay swing, winning just four matches in Monte Carlo, Barcelona, Munich, Madrid and Rome before saving his best tennis for Paris, reaching the quarter-final after that miraculous win over Anderson. Diego was the only player who has managed to win a set against Rafael Nadal during the fortnight at Roland Garros but he fell short in the end after three hours and 42 minutes of grueling battle, gathering 360 points to stand just 15 points behind Hyeon Chung. 

The defending ATP Finals champion Grigor Dimitrov won 10 matches in the first three events of the new season, reaching the semi-final in Brisbane, the quarter-final at the Australian Open and the final in Rotterdam but it all went wrong for him since then, taking just eight wins in the remaining tournaments and collecting 560 points during the clay swing, competing at five biggest events. He was the semi-finalist in Monte Carlo and played in the last eight in Barcelona but he suffered an early exit in Madrid and Rome, leaving Paris after the third round as well. Just like Schwartzman, Grigor scored 1365 points during the season so far and he has to find some extra gear in the next couple of weeks on the grass in order to improve his score and get in contention for the place in London where he scored all five wins in 2017. Top 15 players of the ATP Race to London after Roland Garros:

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