Tennis: Nadal slips out of top three but Olympic champion Bencic up to 11th in rankings

Rafael Nadal of Spain practising on Aug 8, 2021 before the start of the National Bank Open in Toronto, Canada. PHOTO: USA TODAY SPORTS
A happy Swiss player Belinda Bencic after defeating Czech Marketa Vondrousova to win the women's singles gold at the Tokyo Olympics on July 31, 2021. PHOTO: AFP

PARIS (AFP) - Rafael Nadal slipped out of the top three in the new ATP rankings released on Monday (Aug 9), while Jannik Sinner, who won the Washington tournament at the weekend, jumped nine places to 15th.

Olympic women's tennis champion Belinda Bencic, meanwhile, climbed one place in the latest WTA rankings but the Swiss remains one place outside the top 10.

Czech Marketa Vondrousova, who collected silver, remains at 42nd while bronze medallist Elina Svitolina of Ukraine also moved up one place to No. 5.

Spanish 20-time Grand Slam winner Nadal lost to Lloyd Harris in the round of 16 in Washington to find himself dropping one place to No. 4 with the Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas replacing him at No. 3.

Novak Djokovic stays top, with Russian Daniil Medvedev second.

Italian teenager Sinner, who beat the American Mackenzie McDonald in three sets in Washington, climbs from 24th into the higher realms of the game's elite.

Sinner, who turns 20 only on Aug 16, is the youngest player to win an ATP 500 tournament since the category was created in 2009.

By reaching the final, McDonald also enjoyed a dramatic leap from 107th to 64th.

Djokovic, who has won all three majors this year and has his eyes firmly set on completing the sweep with another success at the US Open, remains comfortably at No. 1.

The Serb has now spent a record 333 weeks in top spot, well ahead of next-best Roger Federer, who managed 310 and is now down at No. 9.

The biggest faller among the women was Canadian Bianca Andreescu, who slipped three places from fifth to eighth.

Wimbledon champion Ashleigh Barty continues to dominate at the top even though she has not played since her early elimination in Tokyo at the end of July.

Long-time No. 1 Serena Williams dropped four places to 20th.

Fellow American Danielle Collins moved up eight spots to 28th following her win in San Jose at the Silicon Valley Classic on Sunday, while Germany's Andrea Petkovic, who picked up her first WTA title since 2015 in Cluj, jumped 23 places to 68th.

Losing finalist, Egyptian Mayar Sherif, gained 22 places and entered the top 100 for the first time at 97th.

Meanwhile, Nadal will count upon day-to-day improvement for a long-term foot injury if he is to fight for the title at this week's ATP Toronto Masters.

He has won five Canadian titles, including the 2018 and 2019 editions. The event was not held in 2020 due to Covid-19.

The 35-year-old Spaniard remains concerned about a long-term foot injury that flared up at Roland Garros in May and kept him away from Wimbledon and the Olympics.

"It has been a couple of tough months for me with physical issues," he said on Sunday ahead of his most successful hard-court stop.

Nadal, the second seed, won his comeback match on Wednesday (Aug 4) in Washington but would open in Toronto against 50th-ranked Lloyd Harris, who eliminated him at the US capital, if the South African beats qualifier Brayden Schnur of Canada in his opener.

"I'm not at a peak but I'm training better here than in Washington," he said. "I'm excited to keep going here and play a little better - I want to compete well."

Olympic quarter-finalist Medvedev heads a depleted field at an event which is missing two of the "Big 3" players.

With Djokovic giving the week a miss after his frustrating medal-less performance at Tokyo and Roger Federer still out with his lingering knee problems, Medvedev and Nadal head the seedings.

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