No. 3 Roger Federer is poised for a boost in his world ranking as he prepares for the impending Shanghai Rolex Masters. With Novak Djokovic locked into the No. 1 seed, only 285 points separate Federer from No. 2 Rafael Nadal, according to the updated ATP singles rankings.
Federer is in perfect position to strike, and he will do just that.
After winning in Cincinnati and putting on an impressive display at the U.S. Open, the Swiss earned some much-needed time off before he makes the final push for the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals. Due to the impressive form Federer displayed earlier this season, he carries plenty of confidence and momentum into Shanghai.
Federer's confidence was on display when speaking during a press conference, via ATPWorldTour.com:
Of course, the wish is to win the tournament here. I've never been able to win it other than the Masters Cup here, but never when it was a Masters 1000. That is the goal, no doubt about it. I feel my game is good enough now, but the field is very strong. Tough draws for all the top guys. A lot of guys are fighting to get into the race for the World Tour Finals in London, so there's a lot of pressure on many of the guys.
Adding to Federer's high comfort level in Shanghai was an enormous greeting upon his arrival, via Live Tennis:
While Federer's confidence appears to be off the charts, the same can't be said for Nadal. The Spaniard has struggled in his return to tennis following a wrist injury.
Having not played in a competitive tournament since Wimbledon—where he was upset in the Round of 16 by Nick Kyrgios—Nadal entered the China Open in Beijing with unfavorable results.
After defeating Richard Gasquet and Peter Gojowczyk, the world No. 2 faced Martin Klizan in the quarterfinal. Nadal won a first-set tiebreak; however, a match total of 37 unforced errors and just 21 winners from the Spaniard allowed Klizan to take the final two sets.
During a press conference after the loss, via Tennis.com, Nadal almost appeared to have lost faith in the remainder of the season, "I am going to work hard with the right attitude to play better than what I did today. I will be happy if I finish the season and I am able to take a one-and-a-half-week holiday, then practice for one month in perfect conditions to try to start the next season with positive feelings."
SI Tennis also noted Nadal's lowered expectations going forward:
Nadal has never won a title in Shanghai, and his current condition—both mental and physical—doesn't bode well for his chances to acquire the feat. This presents Federer with a big opportunity to leapfrog him in the world rankings.
In ATP Masters 1000 events, 1,000 points goes to the winner, 600 is awarded for reaching the finals, 360 to the semifinals, 180 for the quarterfinals, 90 for the Round of 16, 45 for the Round of 32 and 10 for the Round of 64, according to ATPWorldTour.com.
Should Federer continue the torrid pace he was on before vacationing and Nadal's struggles force him out early once more, there will be a change in the pecking order by the tournament's conclusion. All signs indicate that this is a likely scenario.