Nadal To Finish No. 1 After Beating Chung In Paris
Victory assures Spaniard of year-end top spot in Emirates ATP Rankings
Rafael Nadal will finish 2017 as year-end No. 1 in the Emirates ATP Rankings after beating Hyeon Chung 7-5, 6-3 on Wednesday in the second round of the Rolex Paris Masters.
The 31-year-old Nadal will be the oldest year-end No. 1 and first season-ending No. 1 over the age of 30 since the Emirates ATP Rankings were established in 1973. It is his fourth time finishing atop the Rankings, adding to 2008, 2010 and 2013.
Roger Federer has pushed Nadal all the way in the battle to finish atop the rankings, with both players enjoying remarkable comebacks in 2017. But with Federer forced to withdraw from Paris, Nadal needed just one more win to finish No. 1.
“I’m very, very happy for everything,” said Nadal in his on-court interview. “It has been an amazing year. One year ago, for sure I never dreamed about being World No. 1 again at the end of the season. It’s something that means a lot to me. But the season is not over.”
It wasn’t plain sailing for Nadal against the 21-year-old Chung, who is due to feature at the inaugural Next Gen ATP Finals in Milan next week. After breaks were exchanged in the early stages, Nadal then rallied from a 0/40 deficit before breaking Chung to lead 4-2.
However, with Nadal serving for the set in the ninth game, his South Korean opponent broke back and levelled at 5-5. The Spaniard eventually got over the line in the first set as he opened up a 0/40 lead on Chung’s serve in the 12th game and clinched it with a forehand winner as the match ticked into the hour mark.
After Chung fended off four break points in the fourth game of the second set, Nadal made his move with a break in the ninth game before sealing victory in one hour and 49 minutes.
Nadal is looking to win his 31st ATP World Tour Masters 1000 crown this week, and third of the season after victories in Monte-Carlo and Madrid. The left-hander is hoping to add Paris to his illustrious collection, after finishing runner-up at the AccorHotels Arena in 2007 (l. to Nalbandian).