Rafael Nadal back on top of world rankings by reaching China Open final

 

Eight months after many doubted whether he would ever play at the highest level again, Rafael Nadal will complete a remarkable recovery from injury when he returns to the top of the world rankings tomorrow.

The 27-year-old Spaniard guaranteed that he would replace Novak Djokovic as world No 1 when he reached today's final of the China Open in Beijing after his opponent, Tomas Berdych, retired with a back injury when trailing 4-2 in the first set of their semi-final.

Nadal, who meets Djokovic in the final after the Serb beat Richard Gasquet 6-4 6-2, returned to competition only in February after seven months off the court following a recurrence of the knee problems that have dogged his career. In the 14 tournaments he has played this year, Nadal has reached 13 finals – Wimbledon, where he lost in the first round, was the exception – and won 10 titles. He is unbeaten in 27 matches in 2013 on hard courts, which have usually been his most unproductive surface, and has not lost in the four events he has played since Wimbledon.

"The satisfaction is not because I am No 1, it's because of all the work to be where I am," Nadal said. "I don't feel a better player now and I won't go to bed feeling that I am the best player in the world. That's something I've never thought."

Britain's Jamie Murray and his Australian doubles partner, John Peers, extended their unbeaten run on the Asia swing to seven matches when they beat Austria's Jürgen Melzer and Julian Knowle 6-3 6-4 in the semi-finals of the Japan Open in Tokyo.

Murray and Peers, who were due to meet Rohan Bopanna and Edouard Roger-Vasselin in today's final, won their third title of the year in Bangkok last week. Juan Martin del Potro was facing Milos Raonic in the singles final.

BUY WIMBLEDON TICKETS

Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

John Palmer: 'Goldfinger' of British crime was murdered, say police

Murder of the Brink’s-MAT mastermind

'Goldfinger' of British crime's life ended in a blaze of bullets, say police
Forget little green men - aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert

Forget little green men

Leading evolutionary biologist says aliens will look like humans
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: An Algerian scientist adjusts to life working in a kebab shop

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

An Algerian scientist struggles to adjust to her new life working in a Scottish kebab shop
Bodyworlds museum: Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy

Dying dream of Doctor Death

Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy
UK heatwave: Temperature reaches 39.8 degrees on Central Line - the sweatiest place in London

39.8 degrees recorded on Tube

There's hot (London) and too damn hot (the Underground). Simon Usborne braved the Central line to discover what its passengers suffer
Kitchens go hi-tech: From robot chefs to recipe-shopping apps, computerised cooking is coming

Computerised cooking is coming

From apps that automatically make shopping lists from your recipe books to smart ovens and robot chefs, Kevin Maney rounds up innovations to make your mouth water
Jessie Cave interview: The Harry Potter star has published a feminist collection of cartoons

Jessie Cave's feminist cartoons

The Harry Potter star tells Alice Jones how a one-night stand changed her life
Football Beyond Borders: Even the most distruptive pupils score at homework club

Education: Football Beyond Borders

Add football to an after-school homework club, and even the naughtiest boys can score
10 best barbecue books

Fire up the barbie: 10 best barbecue books

We've got Bibles to get you grilling and smoking like a true south American pro
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Junk balls and chop and slice are only way 5ft 1in Kurumi Nara can live with Petra Kvitova’s power

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

Junk balls and chop and slice are only way 5ft 1in Kurumi Nara can live with Petra Kvitova’s power
Ron Dennis exclusive: ‘This is one of the best McLaren teams ever – we are going to do it’

‘This is one of the best McLaren teams ever – we are going to do it’

Ron Dennis shrugs off a poor start to the season in an exclusive interview, and says the glory days will come back
Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

Making of a killer

What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Solar power will help bring down electricity prices over the next five years, according to a new report. But it’s cheap imports of ‘dirty power’ that will lower them the most