Tennis: Rafael Nadal seals year-end world No. 1 ranking

Rafael Nadal, at 31, has finished a season on top for a fourth time and is also the oldest year-end No. 1.
Rafael Nadal, at 31, has finished a season on top for a fourth time and is also the oldest year-end No. 1.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

PARIS • Rafael Nadal's love story with Paris continued yesterday, after he secured the year-end world No. 1 ranking with a 7-5, 6-3 win over South Korean Chung Hyeon.

In the most important city of the Spaniard's career, it was fitting that the record 10-time French Open champion created more history at the Paris Masters.

The 31-year-old is the oldest year-end No. 1 since the ATP Rankings were established in 1973. He also finished 2008, 2010 and 2013 atop the rankings.

Nadal will next face Pablo Cuevas in the last 16, after the Uruguayan defeated Spaniard Albert Ramos 6-7 (5-7), 7-6 (7-1), 6-2.

"Very happy for everything, it has been an amazing year," the 16-time Grand Slam champion said.

"One year ago, for sure, I never dreamt about being No. 1 again at the end of the season so it's something that means a lot to me.

"But the season is not over, no? I'm looking forward to keep going and to try my best."

The top seed is looking to win his first Paris Masters title in six attempts at the indoor tournament.

Fourth seed Alexander Zverev, however, has faltered in his bid for a third Masters title of the season.

The Rome Masters and Montreal Masters champion fell to Dutchman Robin Haase in a 3-6, 6-2, 6-2 second-round defeat.

It was the world No. 43's first win over a top-five player. Zverev lost his composure after easing through the first set at Bercy Arena.

The unseeded Haase started to mix up his game well at the start of the second set and reeled off three straight games as the 20-year-old German became frustrated.

He continued to send winners past his opponent and broke serve again to force a decider.

Zverev continued to struggle to make any impact on Haase's serve as he fell 2-3 behind in the third set.

The 30-year-old Dutchman grabbed the crucial break with a stroke of luck from a net cord, before completing one of the biggest victories of his career with a run of four games on the spin.

Zverev will next play at the World Tour Finals in London later this month, while Haase goes on to a last-16 tie against either Joao Sousa or 13th seed Juan Martin del Potro.

Home hope Lucas Pouille kept his slim hopes of qualifying for the World Tour Finals alive by seeing off Spaniard Feliciano Lopez 6-3, 6-4.

The 17th seed needs to at least reach the final to stand a chance of taking one of the final two places for the year-ending eight-man event.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE


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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 02, 2017, with the headline 'Nadal kicks off Paris quest with top rank'. Print Edition | Subscribe