Spanish tennis superstar Rafael Nadal will replace the reigning China Open champion Novak Djokovic to be the world No. 1 on Monday after the world No. 5 Tomas Berdych retired with a back injury at 2-4 in the first set in the semifinals of the China Open here on Saturday.
The red-hot Spaniard, who won the China Open trophy back in 2005, was last ranked No. 1 in July of 2011. By reaching the China Open final, Nadal will unseat Djokovic from the top spot even if the Serbian beats the 13-time Grand Slam champion and wins the title.
The 27-year-old Nadal has had two stints at the summit of men's professional tennis for a total of 102 weeks. He first became world No. 1 on 18 August, 2008 for a period of 46 weeks. He regained top spot from Roger Federer on 7 June, 2010 and added 56 weeks to his tally until relinquishing No. 1 to Novak Djokovic on 4 July 2011.
Djokovic had been world No. 1 for 101 weeks. He will square off against his old foe Nadal in the final showdown of the China Open.
Since returning from seven-month absence due to a left knee injury in February, the mighty Nadal has compiled a 65-3 record this season and has won 10 titles from 12 finals.