12:33 PM GMT June 12, 2018
Rafael Nadal has taken the lead in the ATP Race To London, following another sensational European clay-court swing that culminated in him lifting an 11th Roland Garros trophy.
Two months ago, the Spaniard superstar found himself in 40th position in the ATP Race To London on 360 points (9 April), but Nadal is now first on 5,040 points, 1,545 points ahead of second-placed Alexander Zverev (3,495).
The 32-year-old Nadal went 26-1 on the clay swing, which included 11th titles at both the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters (d. Nishikori) and the Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell (d. Tsitsipas), in addition to an eighth trophy at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia (d. Zverev) and Roland Garros. His lone loss came to Dominic Thiem in the Mutua Madrid Open quarter-finals.
Nadal is bidding to qualify for the Nitto ATP Finals, which will be held at The O2 in London from 11-18 November, for the 14th straight year. He has reached the title match on two occasions in 2010 and 2013, from eight appearances.
Season Finale Appearances For Current Race's Top 8 (as of 11 June 2018)
|Player||ATP Race To London Points||Season Finale Appearances|
|1st Rafael Nadal||5,040||8|
|2nd Alexander Zverev||3,495||1|
|3rd Roger Federer||3,110||15|
|4th Juan Martin del Potro||3,020||4|
|5th Dominic Thiem||3,925||2|
|6th Marin Cilic||2,370||3|
|7th Kevin Anderson||1,620||0|
|8th John Isner||1,500||0|
Zverev, who is 34-9 overall on the year — having been 8-4 after his first four events — is well placed to qualify for the season finale for the second time. In successive weeks, the 21-year-old German captured titles at the BMW Open by FWU (d. Kohlschreiber), his third ATP World Tour Masters 1000 crown at the Mutua Madrid Open (d. Thiem) and finished runner-up in Rome.
Roger Federer, the six-time former Nitto ATP Finals champion, makes a welcome return to action this week for the first time since 23 March, at the MercedesCup. In third place in the ATP Race To London with 3,110 points, the Swiss superstar now has a small lead over fourth-placed Juan Martin del Potro (3,020) and 2018 ATP World Tour match wins leader Thiem (2,985). Del Potro, who reached the Roland Garros semi-finals for the second time (also 2009), and first-time Grand Slam championship finalist Thiem are more than 600 points clear of Marin Cilic (2,370), who sits in sixth position after a semi-final run in Rome and a quarter-final exit in Paris.
Interestingly, only 565 points then separate 12 players, from seventh-placed Kevin Anderson (1,620) — who is attempting to qualify for the first time — to Novak Djokovic, the five-time former Nitto ATP Finals champion, who is 19th (1,055).
Among the group are 10th-placed Diego Schwartzman (1,365), who lost to Nadal in the Roland Garros quarter-finals, and Marco Cecchinato, at 13th after a 30-spot rise (1,287). Cecchinato followed on from capturing his first ATP World Tour title at the Gazprom Hungarian Open (d. Millman), by beating David Goffin (No. 18, 1,135) and Djokovic en route to the semi-finals in Paris (l. to Thiem).
John Isner (No. 9, 1,500), last year’s Next Gen ATP Finals champion Hyeon Chung (No. 10, 1380) and 2017 Nitto ATP Finals titlist Grigor Dimitrov (No. 11, 1,365) are all within striking distance of Anderson with a strong showing on the grass-court swing.