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World No 1 Rafael Nadal now eyes Masters record at Shanghai

Nadal has enjoyed one of the best spells of his career after he came back from seven months out to win two major titles, but he is still seeking further accolades.

Rafael Nadal
Rafael Nadal celebrates a point against Novak Djokovic in the China Open final. Pic/Getty Images

After replacing Novak Djokovic at the top of the ATP rankings — despite his loss to the Serb in Sunday’s China Open final — Nadal can now become the first man to win six Masters trophies in the same season.And the remorseless Mallorcan said he’s also motivated by the target of finishing the year as World No 1 for the third time in his career.

“If I am able to be No 1 at the end of the season, then that’s an important achievement because I will be the best of the year. That’s something that really motivates me,” he said.

Since returning in February after his knee injury, the Spaniard has won 10 titles, including the French Open and US Open. Until Sunday’s loss to Djokovic, he had been unbeaten since his early exit at Wimbledon, where he was a shock first-round loser to Belgium’s Steve Darcis.

Second seed Nadal equalled Djokovic’s record of five Masters titles in a season by winning at Cincinnati in August. He was previously year-end World No 1 in 2008 and 2010. 

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