2 Aug 2008

Nadal now has the points to take over as number one

5:18 pm on 2 August 2008

Rafael Nadal marked a changing of the guard in tennis with a quarter-final victory at the Cincinnati Masters, which will insure he replaces Roger Federer atop the rankings this month.

The swashbuckling Spaniard held off a stern challenge from Nicolas Lapentti, beating the Ecuadoran 7-6 (7-3) 6-1.

If Nadal, who faces third-seeded Serbian Novak Djokovic in the semi-finals, fails to progress further, he will become top man on August 18, the day after the Beijing Olympic tennis ends.

Should Nadal win the title on Sunday for his eighth of the season, he will grab the top spot on Monday from Federer, who opened the door with a third-round loss here to Ivo Karlovic.

Federer has held the world No.1 ranking for more than four years - his reign so far lasting 235 straight weeks.