NEW YORK – Post Grand Slam, the numbers tend to move.
And while the “Big 3” still stand head and shoulders above the rest of the field by a fair margin, things are at least getting a little tighter in the top two spots.
With his victory at Flushing Meadows, his fourth US Open title, Rafael Nadal is now 640 points behind Novak Djokovic.
Before the start of this year’s French Open, Djokovic led Nadal by over 4,400 ranking points. After Wimbledon, the lead was about the same.
Before the US Open, the lead had narrowed to 3,740 points. He’s made up huge ground.
Nadal won, where last year he made the semifinals. And Djokovic, who won last year, lost in the fourth round to Stan Wawrinka when he retired with the left shoulder that had been bothering him for awhile.
And, all of a sudden, it’s (sort of) a race again.
ON THE UPSWING
Daniil Medvedev (RUS): No. 5 ==========> No. 4 (The rankings are a little spread out in this portion of the list, so a tremendous US Open means Medvedev only moves up one spot. But it’s another career high. And he has announced his arrival as a top player).
Matteo Berrettini (ITA): No. 25 ==========> No. 12 (A career best for the surging and surprising 23-year-old Italian).
Diego Schwartzman (ARG): No. 21 ==========> No. 15 (Still down from his career high No. 11 after last year’s French Open, we’ll remember his great US Open and his spirited effort against Rafael Nadal).
Stan Wawrinka (SUI): No. 24 ==========> No. 19 (It’s been a long road back for the Swiss, who had a golden opportunity to maybe take another Grand Slam. But he fell in the quarterfinals to Medvedev after winning over Novak Djokovic in a retirement in the fourth round. His three losses during the hard-court summer all came to rising young Russians: Khachanov in Montreal, Rublev in Cincinnati, and then Medvedev. Still, he’s back in the top 20 and his play had to be encouraging).
Grigor Dimitrov (BUL): No. 78 ==========> No. 25 (The former No. 3’s career seemed in free fall after struggling with a shoulder issue and confidence in 2019. But a great US Open result vaults him back closer to where he belongs).
Alex de Minaur (AUS): No. 38 ==========> No. 31
Andrey Rublev (RUS): No. 43 ==========> No. 38 (Still only 21, the youngest of the rising Russians is healthy again, and we can expect only good things going forward).
Daniel Evans (GBR): No. 58 ==========> No. 48
Pablo Andujar (ESP): No. 70==========> No. 50 (A run to the fourth round of the US Open has the 33-year-old Spaniard back in the top 50. Notable was his five-set win over Kyle Edmund in the first round. A year ago next week, Andujar had NO ranking after being out with injury. He’s back in the top 50 for the first time in nearly four years).
Feliciano Lopez (ESP): No. 61 ==========> No. 54
Dominik Koepfer (GER): No. 118 ==========> No. 86 (The German qualifier, a product of the U.S. college system, impressed in New York and jumps into the top 100).
Tommy Paul (USA): No. 114 ==========> No. 92 (The affable 22-year-old American didn’t get a wild card he probably deserved at the US Open – there’s a little history there. And he didn’t get through the qualifying. But he bounced back last week at the Oracle Challenger in New Haven, beating five Americans and taking the title to move into the top 100 and to a career best).
Marcos Giron (USA): No. 151 ==========> No. 126 (The American reached the New Haven Challenger final – and a new career high).
Hyeon Chung (KOR): No. 170 ==========> No. 143 (The former No. 19 had to qualify – and did – in New York. He won two five-setters – including a dramatic comeback win over Fernando Verdasco in the second round, a fifth-set tiebreak. But he was out of gas in losing to Nadal in the third round).
Thanasi Kokkinakis (AUS): No. 203 ==========> No. 177 (On the plus side, the beleaguered Aussie got himself back into the top 200. On the minus side, he’s injured again).
Jenson Brooksby (USA): No. 399 ==========> No. 272 (The 18-year-old American qualified in New York, and makes a big jump in the rankings).
ON THE DOWNSWING
Borna Coric (CRO): No. 12 ==========> No. 15 (Still only 22, the Croat drops down from his career best No. 12 after a very quiet summer).
John Isner (USA): No. 14 ==========> No. 20 (Isner, who missed nearly four months after a stress fracture in Miami, played every week after Wimbledon – including a title on grass at Newport. But in Atlanta, D.C., Montreal, Cincinnati and New York, only in New York did he put together back-to-back wins).
Felix Auger-Aliassime (CAN): No. 19 ==========> No. 21 (Out of the top 20 after that unfortunate draw, and performance, in New York, the Canadian will be back on the Asian circuit).
Milos Raonic (CAN): No. 22==========> No. 24 (When will the Canadian be back on court? That is the question).
Marin Cilic (CRO): No. 23 ==========> No. 28 (He showed flashes in New York. But this is as low as Cilic’s ranking has been since just after the 2014 French Open).
Pierre-Hugues Herbert (FRA): No. 48 ==========> No. 55 (Out of the top 50 in singles, more notable is what his reunion with doubles partner Nicolas Mahut, after some drama earlier this year, is showing that it’s hard to go home again).
Joao Sousa (POR): No. 44 ==========> No. 64
Juan Martin del Potro (ARG): No. 16 ==========> No. 71 (That 2018 US Open semifinal seems a long time ago now. But the good news is that the likeable Argentine is scheduled to be back in Stockholm).
John Millman (AUS): No. 60==========> No. 95 (The Aussie memorably dispatched a sweat-soaked Roger Federer a year ago on Arthur Ashe Stadium on his way to the quarterfinals. But he got a tough draw this year, and won just seven games in a first-round loss to eventual champion Rafael Nadal).
Marcel Granollers (ESP): No. 91 ==========> No. 102 (Granollers, 33, dropped out of the top 100 in singles. But he reached the US Open men’s doubles final with Horacio Zeballos).
Tomas Berdych (CZE): No. 98 ==========> No. 103 (Berdych’s US Open effort was nothing but discouraging. And he’s out of the top 100. We might see him again, but he has some decisions to make).
Bernard Tomic (AUS): No. 85 ==========> No. 107 (Tomic is out of the top 100, so we expect a few good results in the season’s “garbage time” to ensure he makes it high enough to get straight into the Australian Open. Because that’s kind of his jam).
Jaume Munar (ESP): No. 97 ==========> No. 112 (The 22-year-old, who trains at Nadal’s academy in Mallorca, got to No. 52 back in May but has been on a slow slide since. From Madrid in May until he got in the win column in Gstaad at the end of July, he suffered a string of eight straight first-round losses. He didn’t give himself much of a chance on the hard courts, showing up in North America the week before the US Open, playing one match, and then losing to impressive qualifier Koepfer in the first round in New York. He was already back on the clay at the Genova Challenger last week, but lost his second match).
Dustin Brown (GER): No. 163 ==========> No. 193 (Come back, Dreddy, we miss the flash and dash).
Peter Polansky (CAN): No. 192 ==========> No. 198 (It seems only moments ago that the Canadian was a match win or two from finally breaking into the top 100. Now, he’s not far from dropping out of the top 200).
Jack Sock (USA): No. 178 ==========> No. 208 (The American swing is over, and thus the opportunity to get wild cards to work himself back into form. What will Sock do?)
The road to London
Matteo Berrettini moves himself into the mix for the year-end finals. But it’s going to be a really tight race for the final few spots, from the look of things.