Rafa Nadal returns to the top of the World rankings
Rafael Nadal will return to the top of the world rankings on Monday after reaching the final of the China Open.
The 27-year-old earned his place in Sunday's showpiece when semi-final opponent Tomas Berdych retired with a back injury, with the Czech trailing 4-2 in the opening set in Beijing.
Nadal's rise to the top follows a remarkable return to the court following a lengthy lay-off with a knee injury.
Since his comeback in February, the Spaniard has won 10 titles from 12 finals, including the French Open and US Open.
Nadal's last spell as world number one lasted 56 weeks before he was replaced at the summit by Novak Djokovic in July, 2011.
"(This is) a great year, one of the best years of my career without any doubt," Nadal was quoted as saying on the ATP Tour's official website.
"(It) sure is special be back to the top position of the rankings after more than a half year without playing tennis."
Nadal has not lost since his surprise opening-round defeat to 135th-ranked Steve Darcis at Wimbledon.
He replaces Djokovic, who will meet Richard Gasquet in Saturday's other semi-final, after the Serbian spent 101 weeks in the pole position.
"At the end, it's just a number... What [makes] me happy is [everything] I did to be back where I am today," said Nadal.