© Mike Lawrence/ATP Tour

Carlos Alcaraz could leave the US Open as the youngest No. 1 in Pepperstone ATP Rankings history.

The Battle For World No. 1 At The US Open Could Come Down To This...

We look at the key matches that could happen at Flushing Meadows

Five players — Rafael Nadal, Daniil Medvedev, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Carlos Alcaraz and Casper Ruud — have an opportunity to finish the US Open as the No. 1 player in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings.

With the release of the draw Thursday, the scenarios have become clearer. There are four situations in which both US Open finalists would be competing for both the season’s final major trophy and World No. 1.

If Nadal plays Medvedev in the championship match or Medvedev, Tsitsipas or Ruud face Alcaraz for the title, the winner will leave New York as World No. 1. Medvedev currently holds top spot, while Nadal is trying to regain it for the first time since February 2020 and Alcaraz is attempting to reach the pinnacle for the first time. With Medvedev defending 2000 points, Nadal will hold a healthy lead over the 26-year-old in the Pepperstone ATP Live Rankings Monday.

Pepperstone ATP Live Rankings Points (as of 29 August)

 Player  Points
 1) Rafael Nadal  5,630
 2) Alexander Zverev  5,040*
 3) Daniil Medvedev  4,885
 4) Stefanos Tsitsipas  4,800
 5) Carlos Alcaraz  4,740
 6) Casper Ruud  4,650

There are also several potential matches that could happen earlier in the tournament that would have major implications on the battle for No. 1.

If Alcaraz eliminates Nadal in the last four, he would give himself a chance to become the youngest No. 1 in the history of the Pepperstone ATP Rankings (since 1973) by winning the title. If Medvedev, Tsitsipas or Ruud are still in the draw, an Alcaraz win against Nadal would guarantee that the 22-time major winner would not leave New York as World No. 1.

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Depending on other results in the tournament, a Tsitsipas-Ruud quarter-final could be pivotal. Not only would the winner still have a chance to claim World No. 1, but the victor could also potentially become World No. 2 depending on other tournament results. Tsitsipas has climbed as high as World No. 3 and Ruud has ascended as high as World No. 5.

It is key to note that even if Nadal loses in the first round, Medvedev, Tsitsipas, Alcaraz or Ruud must advance to at least the final to prevent the 36-year-old from leaving the US Open as World No. 1. The Spaniard will finish the tournament no lower than World No. 3. If Nadal reaches the semi-finals, one of the other four players in contention must win the title to finish on top after the Open.

Medvedev, Tsitsipas and Ruud are all on the top half of the draw, while Nadal and Alcaraz are on the bottom half. View Men's Singles Draw

The winner of the US Open will receive 2,000 Pepperstone ATP Rankings points, the finalist will leave with 1,200 points and the semi-finalists 720 points.

By the end of the US Open, Medvedev will have held World No. 1 for 16 weeks, 13 of which have come during his current stint.