- Rafael Nadal - Roger Federer - tennis
Rafael Nadal marked a changing of the guard in tennis Friday 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 number one ranking for more than four years - his reign so far lasting 235 straight weeks.
Nadal crushed Federer in straight sets in the French Open final, and ended Federer's five-year reign at Wimbledon with an epic victory in the final there.
The Spaniard will become the 24th player in the history of the ATP Rankings to hold the number one position and the third Spaniard to accomplish the feat, joining Carlos Moya (1999) and Juan Carlos Ferrero (2003).