Nadal to return to world No. 1 ranking
Rafael Nadal is assured of returning to the world No. 1 ranking following his win Saturday in the semifinals of the ATP's China Open in Beijing.
The match was somewhat anti-climatic as Nadal was up 4-2 in the first set when fourth-seeded Tomas Berdych was forced to withdraw with a back injury. Nadal had broken Berdych's serve twice by the time the match was stopped.
He'll go against current No. 1 Novak Djokovic in Sunday's final. Djokovic defeated Richard Gasquet 6-4, 6-2 in his semifinal Saturday. Nadal is 22-15 -- 3-1 in 2013 -- in his storied head-to-head series with Djokovic.
With four wins this week Nadal is 65-3 and has reached his 13th final in 14 tournaments in 2013. He's won 10 championships this year, giving him 60 in his career.
That success boosts him back to No. 1 when the world rankings are updated Monday. Djokovic has been No. 1 for the last 48 weeks and 101 weeks overall. Monday will mark Nadal's third time atop the rankings and his 103rd week as No. 1 overall. His first tenure ran from Aug. 18, 2008 through July 5, 2009. He was No. 1 again from June 7, 2010, to July 3, 2011.
Djokovic improved to 9-1 against Gasquet with his win Saturday. He overcame an early break and ended up winning about 70 percent of the points on serve.
Djokovic continues a strong year despite losing the No. 1 ranking. He is 56-9 with three titles. He'll be going for his fourth China Open title in five years when he plays Nadal Sunday.
Djokovic is 37-21 in his ATP title matches, which includes a 3-2 mark in 2013. The losses came against Andy Murray at Wimbledon and Nadal at the U.S. Open.