Nadal beats Chung, to end year as number one
RAFAEL Nadal will finish the year as the top-ranked player for the fourth time, surprising even the fiercest of competitors after a wrist injury and a lack of form severely dented his steely confidence.
The 31-year-old Spaniard assured himself the No. 1 ranking by beating Hyeon Chung 7-5, 6-3 Wednesday in the second round of the Paris Masters.
The 16-time Grand Slam winner had not finished the year at the top since 2013.
Nadal is also the oldest year-ending No. 1, testimony to his relentless determination.
The only downside this season has been always losing to Federer, who leads the ATP Tour with seven titles.
Nadal, who is tied for a record 30 Masters titles with Djokovic, has never won the tournament in Paris. He will next face Pablo Cuevas of Uruguay, who beat 15th-seeded Albert Ramos-vinolas of Spain 6-7 (5), 7-6 (1), 6-2.
Third-seeded Marin Cilic won 6-4, 6-3 against Borna Coric in an all-croatian match.
Cilic, who had 13 aces, will next play 14th-seeded Roberto Bautista Agut of Spain. He eased past Frenchman Jeremy Chardy 6-4, 6-1.
No. 4 Alexander Zverev lost to Robin Haase 3-6, 6-2, 6-2, and No. 9 John Isner beat Diego Schwartzman 7-6 (2), 6-7 (11), 6-3.
Haase next plays No. 13 Juan Martin del Potro, who eased past Joao Sousa of Portugal 6-2, 6-2. The big-serving Argentine needs to win in Paris to have a chance of reaching the Finals in London.
Isner, who lost last year’s final to Murray, faces No. 6 Grigor Dimitrov. He beat Richard Gasquet 6-4, 6-4.
Frenchman Lucas Pouille kept alive his slim chances of qualifying for London with a 6-3, 6-4 win against Feliciano Lopez, but No. 12 Kevin Anderson’s chances took a blow after a 5-7, 6-4, 7-5 loss to Fernando Verdasco.
No. 11 Jo-wilfried Tsonga’s bid to reach London is over following a 2-6, 7-6 (4), 6-2 loss to Julien Benneteau in an all-french match.
Benneteau plays No. 7 David Goffin of Belgium, who won 6-2, 2-6, 6-3 against Adrian Mannarino.
Also, No. 16 Jack Sock of the United States had 14 aces in a 4-6, 7-6 (4), 7-6 (5) win against Kyle Edmund and faced Pouille in yesterday’s third round. – AP