Men's Tennis Power Ranking: The Rise of "The Machine"

Ronger FengererCorrespondent IOctober 19, 2009

SHANGHAI, CHINA - OCTOBER 18:  Nikolay Davydenko of Russia poses for photographers after defeating Rafael Nadal of Spain during the final on day eight of the 2009 Shanghai ATP Masters 1000 at Qi Zhong Tennis Centre on October 18, 2009 in Shanghai, China.  (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

The three-week, five-tournament Asian swing has come to an end. With a 500 event in Beijing and a new Masters 1000 event in Shanghai, it appears that China is the future tennis center of Asia. Only two (Andy Roddick and Fernando Verdasco) of the top 15 players in the world failed to make the new power ranking list:


The Top 10

1. Nikolay Davydenko

(Last Power Ranking: 4; ATP Ranking: 6)

Last Four Tournaments: Shanghai [Winner], Beijing [ Quarterfinalist], Kuala Lumpur [Winner], US Open [R16]

Power Ranking Points: 1158 

The "Iron Man" had the most successful Asian swing among all players. He captured the Shanghai Masters shield, third in his career, and the Kuala Lumpur title, both inaugural tournaments.

His title run in Shanghai was most impressive, overcoming Novak Djokovic in the semifinal and Rafael Nadal in the final. The win over Djokovic must have been very sweet to the Russian as he lost to the Djoker in last year's Masters Cup final on the same court.

While many other players showed signs of fatigue in Shanghai, Davydenko looked super-fit, though he was playing his third tournament in three weeks. With two more titles in Hamburg and Umag, he is only one of four players with four or more titles this year. The same four players have also split the eight Masters shields this season so far.


2. Rafael Nadal

(Last Power Ranking: 8; ATP Ranking: 2)

Last Four Tournaments: Shanghai [Finalist], Beijing [Semifinalist], US Open [Semifinalist], Cincinnati [Semifinalist]

Power Ranking Points: 850 

The title drought for Nadal continues. In fact, the final showing in Shanghai was his best result since returning to action after a knee injury.

Nadal must have mixed feelings about China. While he's had much success in Beijing (e.g. gold medal in Beijing Olympics), he has yet to win a title in Shanghai.

He still has a shot at regaining the world No. 1 ranking by the end of this season. Though as he admitted in an interview in Beijing that staying healthy and injury-free will be his top priority.


3. Novak Djokovic

(Last Power Ranking: 3; ATP Ranking: 3)

Last Four Tournaments: Shanghai [Semifinalist], Beijing [Winner], US Open [Semifinalist], Cincinnati [Finalist]

Power Ranking Points: 797 

The "old" Djokovic is back, confirmed by his return to world No. 3.

After some lack-luster performances at Roland Garros and Wimbledon, his results rebounded in the following hard-court season as he regained more confidence, highlighted by his win in Beijing a week ago.

He is yet to find success in the Masters Series, however. Having reached four Masters finals already this season, he was denied a Masters shield on each occasion. Paris will be his last shot this year.


4. Roger Federer

(Last Power Ranking: 2; ATP Ranking: 1)

Last Four Tournaments: US Open [Finalist], Cincinnati [Winner], Montreal [Quarterfinalist], Wimbledon [Winner]

Power Ranking Points: 454 

What's up, Roger?

It must have been a huge disappointment for the tournament organizers in Shanghai when Federer announced his decision to skip the Asian swing. The Chinese believe strongly in "omen," and Federer's announcement was not a good one. And indeed it showed during the week as many matches ended with players retiring and ticket sale not even close to sold-out.

Though Federer did contribute to the new Masters event on the tour. Under his advice, the tournament organizers created an "Elite Fans Club," so that club members can get closer to the players and have more interaction with them during and after a match on the center court.


5. Juan Martin Del Potro

(Last Power Ranking: 1; ATP Ranking: 5)

Last Four Tournaments: Shanghai [R64], Tokyo [R32], US Open [Winner], Montreal [Finalist]

Power Ranking Points: 403 

I guess no one saw it coming. As the newly-crowned US Open champion, Delpo was winless in his last two tournaments in Asia.

But the bigger concern now is his wrist injury, which forced him to retire in Shanghai. We can only hope that it is not serious and he will soon be able to regain his top form.

And say hello to Nalbandian for us, OK?


6. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga

(Last Power Ranking: OLI; ATP Ranking: 8)

Last Four Tournaments: Shanghai [R16], Tokyo [Winner], Bangkok [Semifinalist], US Open [R16]

Power Ranking Points: 400 

It was typical Tsonga. One week he played brilliantly and won the title in Tokyo and then next week he bowed out easily against Soderling in Shanghai.

Nonetheless, this has been his most successful season on the tour with three titles. If he were to qualify for the season finale in London, it would most likely be as dramatic as last year.


7. Robin Soderling

(Last Power Ranking: OLI; ATP Ranking: 10)

Last Four Tournaments: Shanghai [ Quarterfinalist], Beijing [Semifinalist], Kuala Lumpur [Semifinalist], US Open [ Quarterfinalist]

Power Ranking Points: 360 

Since his surprising and heroic run in Roland Garros, Soderling has played some solid tennis. As a result, he has finally cracked the ATP top 10 for the first time in his career.

In July, he fittingly won the Swedish Open, his first non-indoor/carpet title. If he can maintain his high level of play through Paris, it is not impossible for him make his debut in the year-end championship.


8. Gilles Simon

(Last Power Ranking: 5; ATP Ranking: 12)

Last Four Tournaments: Shanghai [ Quarterfinalist], Tokyo [R16], Bangkok [Winner], US Open [R32]

Power Ranking Points: 301 

Simon is yet another winner during the Asian swing, capturing his first title of the season in Bangkok. But that was not enough to keep him from dropping out of the ATP top 10.

He made it to the Masters Cup last year after Nadal withdrew with injuries. It is very unlikely for him to repeat the feat this year.


9. Gael Monfils

(Last Power Ranking: 9; ATP Ranking: 15)

Last Four Tournaments: Shanghai [R16], Tokyo [Semifinalist], Kuala Lumpur [Quarterfinalist], Metz [Winner]

Power Ranking Points: 258 

Another high-profile injury case from Shanghai. Monfils was forced to withdraw from his match against Ivan Ljubicic with a bad back. It is not clear how serious the injury is.

In September, he captured the Metz title, ending a four-year-long title drought. Though only 23 years old, he needs to make a career push very soon before being swamped by the ever-growing young talent pool.


10. Marin Cilic

(Last Power Ranking: NR; ATP Ranking: 13)

Last Four Tournaments: Shanghai [R64], Beijing [Finalist], US Open [Quarterfinalist], Cincinnati [R32]

Power Ranking Points: 225 

Speaking of young talents, Cilic is certainly one of them, who just turned 21 a few weeks ago. Though he is already way behind another young talent in Del Potro, who is only five days older than him.

A quarterfinal showing in the US Open and a final run in Beijing enable him to make the power ranking top 10 debut. However, he was not able to maintain his form and lost in the first round in Shanghai.

It remains to be seen how the tall Croatian develops in the next couple of years.


Outside Looking In

Radek Stapanek

(Last Power Ranking: NR; ATP Ranking: 14)

Power Ranking Points: 220 

Stapanek was on fire in the earlier part of the season, winning two titles. Since then, his form has dipped considerably.  Though a quarterfinal effort in Shanghai was enough for his power ranking debut.


Andy Murray

(Last Power Ranking: 6; ATP Ranking: 4)

Power Ranking Points: 215 

Murray's decision to play in the Davis Cup was costly as it aggravated his wrist injury. The consequence: He had to skip the Asian swing.  He lost the ATP No. 3 ranking and he dropped out of the power ranking top 10.

The good news is that he could be back to action in a few weeks, maybe even before the Paris Masters.


Fernando Gonzalez

(Last Power Ranking: 10; ATP Ranking: 11)

Power Ranking Points: 203 

Though Gonzo's Asian swing was so-so, he is still one of a few who could qualify for the season finale in London.


Race To London

For the top players in the world, they have one 500 event and one 1000 event (Paris Masters) left on their schedule. The projected qualification points for the ATP World Tour Final in London should fall somewhere between 3500 and 4000. The following is a list of players who have a decent shot at qualifying for London:

1. Andy Roddick: 4330

2. Nikolay Davydenko: 3450

3. Fernando Verdasco: 3030

4. Robin Soderling: 2830

5. Fernando Gonzalez: 2780

6. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga: 2640


Author's Thoughts

Here is the list of players retired in the Shanghai Masters last week:

Mischa Zverev, Jose Acasuso, Andy Roddick, Juan Martin Del Potro, Tommy Haas, Stanislas Wawrinka, Gael Monfils, Ivan Ljubicic, Feliciano Lopez.


In addition, with Roger Federer and Andy Murray resting with injuries and fatigue and Rafael Nadal not yet 100 percent, that makes five out of the top seven players in the world not being able to play their best tennis right now. That can't be good for the ATP, no?


    Australian Open: Angelique Kerber beats Maria Sharapova in straight sets - highlights

    Tennis logo

    Australian Open: Angelique Kerber beats Maria Sharapova in straight sets - highlights

    BBC Sport
    via BBC Sport

    Djokovic Advances in Australia Despite Injury Scare

    Tennis logo

    Djokovic Advances in Australia Despite Injury Scare

    BBC Sport
    via BBC Sport

    Federer and Djokovic on Course for Australian Open Meeting

    Tennis logo

    Federer and Djokovic on Course for Australian Open Meeting

    Kevin Mitchell
    via the Guardian

    Kerber Is Learning How to Win Again

    Tennis logo

    Kerber Is Learning How to Win Again

    Christopher Clarey
    via Nytimes