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Rafael Nadal bolsters his bid in the Emirates ATP Race To London with a run to the final in Beijing.

Nadal Surges To Sixth In London Quest; Nishikori & Ferrer In Pursuit

Players continue to fight for position with four weeks remaining in the Emirates ATP Race To London

They say absence makes the heart grow fonder. One year removed from a 2014 campaign cut short by an appendectomy, Rafael Nadal is eager to confirm his place at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals for the eighth time.

The Spaniard, a two-time finalist at The O2, surged to sixth in the Emirates ATP Race To London following a final finish at the China Open. Despite falling short of the title to Novak Djokovic, Nadal added 300 points to his growing haul, which saw him pass Kei Nishikori and further distance himself from the pack of contenders.

“The [Barclays ATP] World Tour Finals is a goal and it will be good news if I finally qualify,” said Nadal. “I'm going to fight for it, competing with the right mentality again, the right confidence and the right level of tennis.”

Nadal says that while his 2015 season “has not been the ideal year,” based on the standards he has set throughout his storied career, he is fighting harder than ever to return to top form and using his recent experiences as a source of motivation going forward. Runner-up in 2010 (l. to Federer) and 2013 (l. to Djokovic) in London, he is looking to build off five final runs this year, including a trio of titles in Buenos Aires, Stuttgart and at the ATP World Tour 500 event in Hamburg.

“I am No. 6 in the Race,” a humble Nadal told reporters in Beijing. “That's my number today. I don't know if you consider that one of the best players of the world or not. That's the number. In tennis, it is different than in other sports, that you don't have a ranking. Here you have a ranking.”

With just 130 Emirates ATP Race To London points separating Nadal (3,970) and No. 5 Tomas Berdych (4,100), the pair will be joined by a cast of contenders at this week’s Shanghai Rolex Masters – the penultimate ATP World Tour Masters 1000 event of the year. Despite a first-round exit in Beijing, the Czech remains next in line to have his ticket punched for the season finale, to be held 15-22 November at the iconic O2 arena on the banks of the River Thames. Berdych is just one week removed from claiming his first title of the season at the Shenzhen Open. With a potential quarter-final clash against third seed Andy Murray in the cards in Shanghai, he is seeking to book his spot for a sixth successive year.

“I learned quite a lot from the previous years,” Berdych said in Beijing. “It's always the same, so there is no need to be worrying about that. I’m just going week by week, playing the tournaments and the tennis. In the end, we will see if I'm going to make it or not.”

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Four of the eight spots have already been booked at the Final Showdown, with Race leaders Djokovic, Murray, Roger Federer and Stan Wawrinka having qualified for the ATP World Tour’s signature event.

Following Berdych and Nadal in the qualification pecking order is Nishikori, who is coming off a semi-final scamper in Tokyo. The Japanese was denied a third title at his home tournament, but will hope to continue maintaining the pressure on the Czech and the Spaniard, with a second straight appearance in London within reach. He reached the semi-finals on debut last year. A potential second match-up against Nick Kyrgios looms in Shanghai for the Shimane native, with second seed Federer in the quarter-finals.

David Ferrer further entrenched himself among the elite eight, remaining in the eighth position after battling to the semi-finals at the China Open. The Spaniard, champion in Doha, Rio de Janeiro, Acapulco and Kuala Lumpur, is seeded seventh in Shanghai and opens against Bernard Tomic. Ferrer did well to bolster his case, extending his lead over No. 9 Richard Gasquet to more than 1,000 points. The 33 year old is firing on all cylinders after enduring a three-month mid-season absence due to an elbow injury.

Gasquet has the opportunity to rediscover his form and gain ground on the field following a first-round upset loss to Roberto Bautista Agut in Tokyo. The Frenchman saw his cushion ahead of John Isner trimmed to 130 Emirates ATP Race To London points after the American battled into the Beijing quarter-finals. Other contenders Kevin Anderson and Milos Raonic saw their distant hopes take a significant blow after suffering first-round dismissals in Tokyo and Beijing, respectively. A potential Shanghai third round match-up laden with London implications could feature Raonic against Nadal.

The Barclays ATP World Tour Finals has welcomed more than 1.5 million fans to The O2 arena over the past six years, establishing itself as the biggest indoor tennis tournament in the world since moving to London in 2009. Tickets to the tournament, which takes place from 15-22 November, can be purchased at: www.BarclaysATPWorldTourFinals.com.

Barclays ATP World Tour Finals - The Contenders
Based on the calendar-year Emirates ATP Race To London standings as of Monday, 12 October 2015. The top eight eligible players will qualify.

 YTD Points
 In Action This Week?
(6) Rafael Nadal
 3,970  Shanghai
(7) Kei Nishikori  3,855  Shanghai
(8) David Ferrer  3,435  Shanghai
(9) Richard Gasquet  2,355  Shanghai
(10) John Isner  2,225  Shanghai
(11) Kevin Anderson
 2,205  Shanghai
(12) Marin Cilic  2,100  Shanghai
(13) Milos Raonic