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Rafael Nadal fait pression sur ses adversaires

Rafael Nadal puts pressure on his opponents

Five players entered the final race of the season in New York with a chance of becoming a No. 1. Stefanos Tsisipas extended his poor run at the US Open and lost early in the first round.

Thus, the Greek left four chances in the battle for the ATP throne. They include US Open winner Daniil Medvedev and 22-time champion Rafael Nadal along with Carlos Alcaraz and Casper Rudd.

The oldest and most experienced of them all is the frontrunner to become the world number one next Monday. At 36 years and three months, Nadal is keeping everything in his hands before meeting Frances Tiafoe in the fourth round.

Rafa had the best starting position in New York, adding pressure on his opponents with each subsequent victory. He defeated Spaniard Richard Gasquet 6-0 6-1 7-5 in the third round to advance to the last 16 for the 12th time in New York since 2003.

Rafael Nadal is fighting for the lead.

Nadal has 5,810 points for a place in the fourth round, and will become No. 1 again for the first time since February if none of his three rivals reach the final.

If Nadal and Medvedev qualify in the title race, they will fight for the grand title and the ATP throne in a win-win duel. Rafa was an unbeatable player this season, winning two major titles and making the top spot in the ATP Tour.

The Spaniard has not defended anything the rest of the season, suffering a foot injury a year ago and a perfect response this year. Rafa won his first Australian Open title since 2009 after an epic comeback against Medvedev in five hours and 24 minutes.

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Nadal lost only once until May, and he did not play well in Madrid and Rome before Roland Garros. Previously, Rafa performed his old magic in Paris on numerous occasions, knocking out Novak Djokovic, Alexander Zverev and Casper Rudd to win his 14th title at Roland Garros.

The Spaniard has left his opponents behind those 2,000 points, and wants more of the same in New York after defending zero points. Nadal is not thinking of becoming the world number one again, especially after suffering an abdominal injury.

He defeated Rafa Nadal, Rinke Hijikata, Fabio Fognini and Richard Gasquet to find himself in the fourth round in New York and distance himself from his potential rivals.