Novak Djokovic to end Daniil Medvedev’s reign already after Rafa Nadal lends helping hand

Djokovic speaks following his US Open defeat against Medvedev

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Daniil Medvedev’s new reign as world No 1 will be short-lived after the Russian lost to Rafael Nadal for the second time in a month. Medvedev will end the Big Four’s 18-year reign at the top spot of tennis when the rankings update on Monday but with Novak Djokovic set to be only 150 points behind, he will reclaim the top spot within two weeks.

Medvedev will become the first man outside of Djokovic, Nadal, Federer and Murray to be world No 1 since February 1 2004 when the ATP publish the rankings on Monday.

The Russian had been locked in a battle with Djokovic this week for the top spot of the ranking with both players competing in ATP 500 events in Acapulco and Dubai respectively.

It was the 20-time Major champion’s first tournament of the season and he suffered a shock quarter-final loss to Jiri Vesely on Thursday, handing the world No 1 ranking to Medvedev.

The 26-year-old had already reached his own quarter-final in Acapulco, and after securing the top spot he beat qualifier Taro Daniel to set up a mouthwatering rematch with Nadal in the semis.

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It was the second time they met in under a month, with the Spaniard coming from two sets down for the first time since 2007 to win his second Aussie Open and become the first man in history to win a record 21st Grand Slam.

Nadal clinched another victory over Medvedev, this time needing just two hours to win through 6-3 6-3 and reach his second straight final in Acapulco.

The Russian still gets to walk away with the world No 1 ranking but it will now be a short-lived stay at the top after his defeat to the fourth seed.

With their exits from their respective tournaments now confirmed, as of next week, Medvedev holds 8,615 ranking points while Djokovic will have 8,465.

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Leading by only 150 points and defending 250 from his title win in Marseille last season, Medvedev will drop back to world No 1 on the week commencing March 14 when those points come off.

Having made the semis in Acapulco, the 13-time title winner earned 180 ranking points but could have racked up 300 for a finals showing and 500 for winning the title.

Had he defeated Nadal, he would have led Djokovic in the rankings by 270 points and still been world No 1 when his Marseille points came off, and could have even led by 470 points with a title win.

It could be another battle for the top ranking during Indian Wells which runs from March 7 to March 20, with Djokovic currently unable to compete due to vaccination rules.

“As of today, no. I can’t go, can’t enter United States. As of today I’m not able to play,” the five-time Indian Wells champion said of his participation in the Californian Masters 1000.

“But let’s see what happens. I mean, maybe things change in the next few weeks.”

Meanwhile, Nadal will face Britain’s Cameron Norrie in Saturday’s Acapulco final after the world No 12 defeated third seed Stefanos Tsitsipas in the other semi-final.

The Spaniard has started his season with a 14-0 win-loss record and will be looking to extend it to 15 wins.

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