• World rankings

'Lucky' Masters double lifts Nadal above Murray

ESPN staff
August 19, 2013
Rafael Nadal is unbeaten on hard courts in 2013 having won all three American Masters 1000 tournaments © Getty Images

Rafael Nadal will arrive at the US Open as the No. 2 seed after his back-to-back victories in Montreal and Cincinnati, while defending champion Andy Murray will be seeded third - and Roger Federer seeded seventh - in New York.

Nadal beat John Isner to claim his first Western & Southern Open title in Cincinnati, his ninth title of the season and the 26th Masters 1000 title of his career as his stellar run since returning from injury continues.

The Spaniard is unbeaten on hard courts in 2013 and has put the disappointment of his shock first-round exit at Wimbledon behind him - along with fears about his fitness, given the seven-month injury lay-off prompted by his early Wimbledon exit a year earlier.

But despite being installed as many pundits' favourite to win the US Open, Nadal was quick to downplay expectations.

"If you ask me which way you want to enter the US Open, I will tell you that's the perfect way to enter the US Open," he said. "But that doesn't mean that I'm going to play a great US Open. The only thing it really means is I was playing great during these two weeks."

Nadal insisted that winning the Rogers Cup and Western & Southern Open - his first back-to-back hard court success - was as much about luck as a statement of his level of play right now, described by world No. 1 Novak Djokovic as "the best in the world" earlier this week.

"Winning back‑to‑back tournaments is difficult because, first thing, the courts are not exactly the same," Nadal said.

"The weather conditions are not exactly the same. The rivals brings your body and your tennis to the limit. You need to be 100% focused during the two weeks and playing every day."

"So I was lucky. I was close to losing against Roger the other day. I was close to losing against Novak in Montreal. I was close today."

Five-time US Open champion Federer insisted he was not fazed after his ranking dipped to its lowest point since 2002.

"Rankings at this point are not what lead me," the 17-time grand slam champion said after his exit to Nadal in the quarter-finals. "It's about getting my game back on track, and that's what I'm doing well. That's what's exciting right now."

Men's rankings: 1. Novak Djokovic (SRB), 2. Rafael Nadal (ESP), 3. Andy Murray (GBR), 4. David Ferrer (ESP), 5. Tomas Berdych (CZE), 6. Juan Martin Del Potro (ARG), 7. Roger Federer (SUI), 8. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA), 9. Richard Gasquet (FRA), 10. Stanislas Wawrinka (SUI).

Women's rankings: 1. Serena Williams (USA), 2. Victoria Azarenka (BLR), 3. Maria Sharapova (RUS), 4. Agnieszka Radwanska (POL), 5. Sara Errani (ITA), 6. Li Na (CHN), 7. Marion Bartoli (FRA), 8. Caroline Wozniacki (DEN), 9. Petra Kvitova (CZE), 10. Angelique Kerber (GER).

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