Skip to main content
Part of complete coverage on

Rafael Nadal's defeat gives Novak Djokovic hope of year-end No. 1

November 2, 2013 -- Updated 2106 GMT (0506 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • World No. 2 Novak Djokovic will play David Ferrer in Sunday's Paris Masters final
  • Djokovic comes from behind to beat Roger Federer in Saturday's opening semifinal
  • ATP World Tour Finalist Juan Martin del Potro is robbed of prized rosary in Paris
  • Italy takes 2-0 lead in Fed Cup final against under-strength Russian women's team

(CNN) -- Rafael Nadal failed to clinch the year-end No. 1 ranking for the third time in his career after suffering a shock defeat at the Paris Masters on Saturday.

The form player of the men's tennis season after coming back from long-term knee problems, Nadal could have added to his 2008 and 2010 feats by beating David Ferrer and reaching the final of the penultimate tournament on the calendar.

However, he lost 6-3 7-5 to his third-ranked compatriot, who will defend his title in Sunday's final against Novak Djokovic.

The Serbian earlier kept alive his hopes of being year-end No. 1 for the third successive year by beating 17-time grand slam champion Roger Federer in Saturday's opening semifinal.

"I played maybe my best match this season," Ferrer said after ending a nine-match losing run to Nadal.

"Paris is very special for me. I made my first final of a grand slam in Roland Garros; last year I won my first Masters 1000 title; now I'm in the final again in Paris."

Read: Can Federer overcome back problem in London?

Secret to beating tennis' big four
Dmitry Tursunov's tour of Kuala Lumpur

Second-ranked Djokovic had to come from behind to win 4-6 6-3 6-2 against the veteran Swiss, who is showing signs of improved form.

Both matches were dress rehearsals for the ATP World Tour Finals in London next week, where Nadal and Ferrer will be in Group A along with Tomas Berdych and debutant Stanislas Wawrinka.

Defending champion Djokovic and six-time winner Federer will be in Group B with Juan Martin del Potro and Richard Gasquet.

"I was pretty happy with my level of play," said Federer, who will equal Ivan Lendl's record 12 consecutive appearances at the season-ending event.

"I wish I could have kept it up for a bit longer and put him under pressure, but Novak battled well to stay in the match in the second set and the third set.

Read: Sweet revenge for Federer

"I had my chances in the second and third sets. Disappointed right now, but overall it was a good week for me."

On Friday, Federer avenged his Swiss Indoors final defeat by Del Potro -- and the Argentine's week got even worse when he was robbed at Paris' Gare du Nord train station en route to Britain.

His confidence will be shaken after losing his most prized possession -- a rosary that was blessed by the Pope in Rome this year, which was in a briefcase stolen as he checked in.

"My Rosary blessed by Pope Francis, I carried it everywhere," the 25-year-old told the ATP Tour website.

Wawrinka ready for singles success
Tennis greats gather for ATP reunion

"That's what matters most to me. I was finishing the check-in and was asked for an autograph. I turned around to sign it and, within 20 seconds, it was stolen."

Read: Serving up a winning diet

Meanwhile, the Italian women's team took a big step towards a fourth Fed Cup title after winning both singles matches on the opening day of the final against an under-strength Russia Saturday.

Italy, whose last title came in 2010, saw its top-ranked player Sara Errani thrash Irina Khromacheva 6-1 6-4 after Roberta Vinci battled to a 5-7 7-5 8-6 win against Alexandra Panova.

Both Russians were making their debut in the largest team tournament in women's international sport, which featured 97 nations this year, as the country's top 11 players were unavailable.

The final clashes with the WTA Tour's Tournament of Champions in Bulgaria, a second-tier end-of-season event where Russia's Anastasia Pavlyuchenckova lost to Sam Stosur in Saturday's semis and Romania's Simona Halep beat Serbian Ana Ivanovic.

The International Tennis Federation, which plans to move the Fed Cup final back a week next season, announced Saturday that Tunisia will be banned from the men's 2014 Davis Cup tournament after refusing to allow one of its players to compete against an Israeli.

Malek Jaziri had been due to play Amir Weintraub at last month's Tashkent Challenger.

"There is no room for prejudice of any kind in sport or in society," ITF president Francesco Ricci Bitti said. "The ITF board decided to send a strong message to the Tunisian Tennis Federation that this kind of action will not be tolerated by any of our members.

"The board felt that suspension from Davis Cup, a competition that was founded 113 years ago to encourage better understanding through sport, would provide a good lesson for the federation and a fitting penalty for their unfortunate action."

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
August 21, 2014 -- Updated 1252 GMT (2052 HKT)
As a player he was as fiery as his hair -- and as Novak Djokovic's coach, Boris Becker says he has to battle to keep his emotions in check.
August 20, 2014 -- Updated 1102 GMT (1902 HKT)
Tennis great Boris Becker says he was stunned by the level of criticism he received after being appointed as Novak Djokovic's coach.
July 25, 2014 -- Updated 1101 GMT (1901 HKT)
"I didn't cry once when I practiced in front of the mirror," says Martin Emmrich. But the nerves kicked in when he got down on one knee on court.
June 30, 2014 -- Updated 1135 GMT (1935 HKT)
When Agnieszka Radwanska refused to look her opponent in the eye after losing at Wimbledon, it raised more than eyebrows.
June 23, 2014 -- Updated 0114 GMT (0914 HKT)
It's 10 years since a teenage Maria Sharapova became the darling of Wimbledon's hallowed Center Court, launching herself as a star.
Rafael Nadal is still the "King of Clay" -- but his crown has slipped a bit, says CNN's Will Edmonds.
May 23, 2014 -- Updated 0746 GMT (1546 HKT)
He's regularly voted France's favorite famous person, but many of the nation's youth have "no idea" about his glorious sporting past
May 5, 2014 -- Updated 2359 GMT (0759 HKT)
British tennis player Elena Baltacha won 11 ITF Pro Circuit titles during her 16-year playing career.
The Ukrainian-born, British tennis star loses fight against liver cancer, just a few weeks after revealing that she was battling the disease.
April 29, 2014 -- Updated 1555 GMT (2355 HKT)
Five-time grand slam champion Martina Hingis has followed her mom into a coaching role, setting up a new tennis academy in Barcelona, Spain.
April 16, 2014 -- Updated 1238 GMT (2038 HKT)
Suisse's Belinda Bencic returns the ball to France's Alize Cornet during the second match of the Fed Cup first round tennis tie France vs Switzerland on February 8, 2014 at the Pierre de Coubertin stadium in Paris. AFP PHOTO / KENZO TRIBOUILLARD (Photo credit should read KENZO TRIBOUILLARD/AFP/Getty Images)
It's no easy matter becoming a world class tennis player. It's even harder when everyone (really -- everyone) is calling you the "new Martina Hingis."
April 2, 2014 -- Updated 1420 GMT (2220 HKT)
At the 2009 Australian Open, French men's tennis was the talk of the town.
April 15, 2014 -- Updated 1800 GMT (0200 HKT)
MONTE-CARLO, MONACO - APRIL 14: Rafael Nadal of Spain sails a boat during day two of the ATP Monte Carlo Rolex Masters Tennis at Monte-Carlo Sporting Club on April 14, 2014 in Monte-Carlo, Monaco. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
Rafael Nadal may be most at home on a clay tennis court, but he has always found comfort on the sea.
ADVERTISEMENT