Despite having a pair of 500-level tournaments, with six of the top-10 players taking part (all but Novak Djokovic in Beijing), there are no changes at the top of the rankings on this glorious Monday.
But Djokovic, impressive in winning in Tokyo in his first tournament back after resolving the shoulder issue that impinged on his American summer, did put some distance between himself and Rafael Nadal at the top.
Djokovic had led by 640 ranking points going into the week, which was to have featured Nadal in Beijing.
But Nadal withdrew with the left hand/wrist issue that also took him out of Laver Cup a few weeks ago.
And so, with the win, the Serb extends his lead to 1,140 points.
Meanwhile, with his win in Beijing, Dominic Thiem creeped closer to No. 4 Daniil Medvedev.
He had been nearly 900 points behind him. As of Monday, that gap was narrowed to 140 points.
This week, with the Masters 1000 event in Shanghai reuniting all of the main competitors for those final spots at the Tour finals in London, it’s on.
Roger Federer defends a semifinal and 360 points; Nadal, who is not playing, isn’t defending anything. As defending champion, Djokovic has a title and 1,000 points on the line.
ON THE UPSWING
John Isner (USA): No. 19 ===========> No. 17 (A quarterfinal effort in Beijing helps him squeeze up two spots).
Marin Cilic (CRO): No. 30 ===========> No. 25 (Still a long way from where he should be, but just the addition of 45 points moves him up five spots).
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA): No. 40 ===========> No. 35 (The veteran Frenchman is grinding hard in this late stage of the season, and could book himself a seed at the Australian Open).
Reilly Opelka (USA): No. 53 ===========> No. 40 (The 22-year-old American reaches a new career best after making the Tokyo semifinals).
Daniel Evans (GBR): No. 48 ===========> No. 43 (After qualifying in Shanghai and winning a round, the 29-year-old is just two spots away from his career high).
Sam Querrey (USA): No. 55 ===========> No. 45 (It’s been a very quiet season for the American, but this is a nice jump after reaching the Beijing quarters).
Alexander Bublik (KAZ): No. 57 ===========> No. 54 (The idiosyncratic 22-year-old qualified in Shanghai, and will face Félix Auger-Aliassime with a new career-best ranking).
John Millman (AUS): No. 80 ===========> No. 58 (A huge effort by the veteran Aussie to qualify in Tokyo, and reach the final)
Salvatore Caruso (ITA): No. 110 ===========> No. 98 (A career high and a top-100 debut for the 26-year-old from Italy, who won the Barcelona Challenger).
Yasutaka Uchiyama (JPN): No. 136 ===========> No. 110 (A career high for the 27-year-old from Japan, who qualified and reached the quarterfinals in his home-country ATP Tour event).
Hyeon Chung (KOR): No. 143 ===========> No. 120 (The Korean reached the Tokyo quarterfinals on a wild card, and is slowly chipping away at that far-too-big number).
Steven Diez (CAN): No. 160 ===========> No. 158 (The Spanish-Canadian is at another career high, as he’s been grinding away for years now and is finally seeing some reward.
Illya Marchenko (UKR): No. 378 ===========> No. 275 (The 32-year-old was at a career best No. 49 just three years ago. But he had shoulder surgery right after the 2018 Australian Open after last playing the previous October. He didn’t return until the French Open later that year. Whereupon he proceeded to lose his next 10 consecutive first-round matches before getting back in the win column in October. He was out again – from Nov. 2018 to this past April. He even dropped down to the $25K level for a week. Winning the Challenger in Nur Sultan last week gives him a nice boost because a year ago, he even briefly dropped outside the top 1000).
Andy Murray (GBR): No. 503 ===========> No. 289 (Murray jumps … 214 spots in the rankings by making the Beijing quarterfinals).
ON THE DOWNSWING
Nikoloz Basilashvili (GEO): No. 17 ===========> No. 26 (The Georgian beat Juan Martin del Potro to win the Beijing final a year ago. So a second-round loss this year didn’t cover it).
Milos Raonic (CAN): No. 27 ===========> No. 30 (The big Canadian is still missing in action, and has had to pass on the entire Asian swing. He’s still signed on for Antwerp next week).
Denis Shapovalov (CAN): No. 32 ===========> No. 36 (Shapovalov, who gets Tiafoe in the first round ofShanghai, lost in the second round in Tokyo after being a semifinalist a year ago. He can make up the ground quickly, though, as he lost to Basilashvili in the first round in Shanghai a year ago).
Kyle Edmund (GBR): No. 34 ===========> No. 42 (A first-round loser in Beijing, Edmund was a semifinalist last year. And it doesn’t get better for the Brit; he’s defending a quarterfinal effort in Shanghai and a title in Antwerp. And he can’t have much confidence going into this key two-week period).
Frances Tiafoe (USA): No. 46 ===========> No. 51 (Out of the top 50 after losing in the first round of Beijing, Tiafoe opted not to play any of the smaller leadup events. This was his first match since he lost a tough five-setter to Alexander Zverev in the second round of the US Open. And his match in Beijing was against … Zverev. Of course. He gets Shapovalov in the first round in Shanghai).
Richard Gasquet (FRA): No. 42 ===========> No. 52 (A first-round loser in Beijing, after beating Kyrgios and Anderson and reaching the Tokyo semis a year ago).
Filip Krajinovic (SRB): No. 49 ===========> No. 60
Pablo Andujar (ESP): No. 52 ===========> No. 62
Ivo Karlovic (CRO): No. 79 ===========> No. 87 (The big Croat hasn’t played since retiring in his second-round match against Tiafoe at the US Open. A year ago, he was scrambling on the U.S. Challenger circuit, where he played five events through mid-November to get his ranking back into the top 100 to get straight into Australia. He made it. But if he doesn’t defend more than half of the 130 pounds he earned last fall, he won’t make it in 2020).
Juan Martin del Potro (ARG): No. 70 ===========> No. 103 (Out of the top 100 for the first time since …. del Potro is scheduled back in Stockholm next week. He’ll have to climb back up the hill again. Unfortunately, a situation he’s well accustomed to).
Malek Jaziri (TUN): No. 122 ===========> No. 149 (Not sure what’s happening with the 35-year-old, who reached his career best of No. 42 back in January of this year. That’s more than 100 spots lost. Since August, five of the six opponents he has lost to have been ranked outside the top 150 – including No. 365 Tomas Machac in Kazakstan last week).
David Ferrer (ESP): No. 156 ===========> No. 219 (The 37-year-old was playing a seniors event last week, but he’s still in the ATP Tour rankings).
THE RACE TO LONDON
The first five are in, with the latest being Beijing champion Dominic Thiem.
Stefanos Tsitsipas looks in great shape, as well.
But the last two spots could set off a lively battle, with those who have the most energy remaining after a long season having a leg up.
Alexander Zverev and David Goffin did themselves favours this week. So did Karen Khachanov, who was at No. 21 in the race and a week later, finds himself at No. 17 but still with a shot.
Just in Shanghai and Paris alone, there are up to 2,000 points in play for the winners. And there are 500s in Basel and Vienna. So this one is a long way from over.