Rafael Nadal’s No. 2 position in the tennis world is finally in serious danger of being overtaken! The Hamburg Masters semifinals just might be the place where his 147-week long run at the No. 2 spot will get terminated, as he plays against No. 3 Novak Djokovic of Serbia.
The match will be a tough one to call, because past results and statistics allow for one to argue both ways.
The year 2008 hasn’t brought Nadal much to cheer for. He has won only two tournaments so far (Monte Carlo Masters and Barcelona), with his first championship victory accomplished a month ago (April 19th), where he beat No. 1 Roger Federer in the finals.
Djokovic, on the other hand, has been dominating the tennis world this year, having won two out of the four played Masters Series tournaments (Indian Wells and Rome), and the Australian Open, where he beat Roger Federer in the semis in straight sets, and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the final 3-1.
Ever since 2007 Wimbledon semifinal, which Djokovic surrendered to Nadal, the two have played three games; the Serb won two (Montreal and Indian Wells Masters), while Nadal won one at the Tennis Masters Cup in China. The most recent victory was that of Djokovic at Indian Wells, CA, 6-3, 6-2.
However, the overall statistics is on Nadal’s side. The Spaniard leads 6-3 in all-time series against Djokovic, and 3-0 on clay courts, which is the type of court the Hamburg tournament is played on. In addition, Nadal has only lost two games in the past 107 on clay, falling to Roger Federer in 2007 Hamburg final and Juan Carlos Ferrero in Rome a week ago.
With the French Open being just a week away (starts May 25th), it would be a nice refreshment to see a change in the Top 3 ATP ranking. With Djokovic hungry for advancement at the ATP chart, and Nadal struggling to find his game before the second Grand Slam of the season, the match will be a true treat for all tennis fans worldwide.