Beijing:Swiss tennis star Roger Federer will have to battle for his World No.1 ranking in the Cincinnati Masters ahead of his coveted journey to the Beijing Olympics which starts Aug 8.
World No.2 Rafael Nadal overcame a semi-final challenge against British Andy Murray 7-6(2), 6-3 on Saturday to make it to the final of the Rogers Masters in Toronto, where the Swiss suffered an early exit.
If Nadal wins the final, he would have the chance next week at the Cincinnati Masters to dethrone Federer, who has held top spot in the world rankings for 234 consecutive weeks (since February 2004).
Nadal is 770 points behind Federer this week, but would cut that lead to 300 points should he win at Toronto.
"It's important to stay positive. The hard court season just started. It's the start of, what is it, nine months of hard court? It's not the end of the world, but I wish it could have started better, I've got to regroup and look forward," Federer told ATP's official website.
"The bigger picture is the Olympic Games and the US Open. Those are the places where I want to win."
The event is the last chance for major players to boost their game before the long flight to China for the Beijing Olympics, to be followed by a trans-Pacific dash to US Open just over a fortnight later.
Federer and Nadal are occupying the top two spot in the rankings since July 25, 2005.
Federer gets a first-round bye at the Cincinnati Masters he has won for two of the past three editions. He awaits the winner between American Robby Ginepri and a qualifier.
While Nadal will be looking to win his 30th career ATP title in Toronto, and his seventh of the season. He won at Masters Series Monte -Carlo and Barcelona in April, and coming into Toronto, had won four straight titles at Masters Series Hamburg, Roland Garros, Queen's Club and Wimbledon.