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Rafael Nadal's bid to reclaim No. 1 turns to the Western & Southern Open where he arrives as top seed.

Nadal, Federer On Collision Course For No. 1 In Cincy

Spaniard bids to keep Swiss rival at bay in race for top spot

The route for a return to No. 1 in the Emirates ATP Rankings is paved for Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer at next week’s Western & Southern Open. Andy Murray will relinquish top spot to one of the two in Cincinnati and if it is the Swiss who goes on to win the Coupe Rogers this week in Montreal, he would clinch World No. 1 with an equal or better finish than the Spaniard next week.

It is a tantalising prospect that the No. 1 ranking would come down to the final, should both live up to their seedings. After a bye, top seed Nadal could take on former World No. 7, Richard Gasquet in the second round, with his Wimbledon conqueror Gilles Muller and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga his potential opponents in the third round and quarter-finals, respectively. 

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Third seed Dominic Thiem is drawn to meet the Spaniard in the semi-finals. The Austrian could first have to find a way past fifth seed Kei Nishikori in the quarter-finals.

If second seed Federer is to claim an eighth Western & Southern Open crown, he would first have to get past #NextGenATP Russian Karen Khachanov or Coupe Rogers quarter-finalist Diego Schwartzman after an opening-round bye. He could meet top-ranked American Jack Sock in the third round before a likely quarter-final match-up with either seventh seed Grigor Dimitrov or Tomas Berdych.

Former No. 4 in the Emirates ATP Rankings, Juan Martin del Potro, might have other things in mind. In a battle of two former Top 10 opponents, the Argentine is due to face Berdych in the opening round. Del Potro leads their FedEX ATP Head2Head 4-3.

#NextGenATP German and Emirates ATP Race to Milan leader Alexander Zverev is drawn to meet Federer in the semi-finals. The 20 year old No. 4 seed could run into sixth-seeded Canadian Milos Raonic in the quarter-finals.

In tricky first-round encounters, a resurgent David Ferrer takes on American Steve Johnson, while Johnson’s compatriot John Isner opens against Viktor Troicki. Australian Nick Kyrgios takes on Belgian No. 9 seed David Goffin first up, while 15th-seeded American Sam Querrey will face #NextGenATP compatriot Stefan Kozlov. In another all-American clash, Donald Young will square off against #NextGenATP prospect Tommy Paul.

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