Rafael Nadal booked his place in the semi-finals of the ATP World Tour Finals and secured the year-end No 1 ranking with a hard-fought victory over Stanislas Wawrinka at London’s O2 Arena.
Novak Djokovic had kept the ranking race alive going into season-ending tournament with a run of 17 straight victories but Nadal still knew two wins in London would be enough to give him the honour for the third time.
It is a remarkable achievement given Nadal did not play a tournament until February after seven months out with knee problems.
Many questioned whether the Spaniard would be able to hit the same heights but he has put together one of the best years in tennis history, winning 10 of his first 13 tournaments.
He has found the going a bit tougher since winning his 13th Grand Slam title at the US Open but was an easy winner over David Ferrer in his opening round-robin match.
That meant a straight-sets win over O2 debutant Wawrinka would send him through to the semi-finals, and the omens were good given he had won all 24 of their previous sets.
Wawrinka has come close to breaking that run on a few occasions, including in Shanghai last month, when he had a point to win the opening set.
It was a similar story here but once more it was Nadal who prevailed, this time in two tie-breaks, to win 7-6 (7/5), 7-6 (8/6).
Wawrinka, who beat Tomas Berdych in his opening match, is still in a decent position to reach the last four ahead of his final group clash with Ferrer tomorrow.