Dominic Thiem got an all-important win against Rafael Nadal at the ATP Finals 2020. A straight-sets victory propelled the Austrian into the semifinals but a lot more is at stake now. With Thiem emerging as a favorite for the tour final title, he could catch Rafa Nadal for the number two spot in the ATP rankings.
Rafa and Thiem started their ATP Finals campaign with 9450 and 8325 points respectively (subtracting the 2019 ATP Finals points). At the ATP Finals, points are awarded with every match won. So 200 points are given for every group stage match win, 400 points are given for the semifinal win, and 500 points are given upon winning the final. So in total, an undefeated champion will win 1500 points.
What do Rafael Nadal and Dominic Thiem have to do to claim the World No. 2 ranking?
At the current stage, both the players have played two matches. With Thiem winning both and earning 400 points, and Nadal winning one, thus earning 200 points. So Rafa is on 9650 points and Thiem is on 8725 points. For Rafa to confirm his year-end World No. 2 ranking, he will have to win his final group match against Stefanos Tsitsipas.
For Thiem, the road towards the year-end World No. 2 ranking is a bit tough but not impossible. If Nadal doesnt win against Tsitsipas, then Thiem has a chance. The 2020 US Open champion will have to be an undefeated champion to secure the World No. 2 ranking. Dominic Thiems final points tally could become 9825, which will be clear of Nadals 9650.
Thiem plays Andrey Rublev in his last group stage match. He has to go past the Russian and then go on and win the title to jump Nadal in the rankings.
Nadals encounter with Tsitsipas is effectively a quarterfinal match. The player who wins the tie will advance to the semifinals. So there are two things at stake for Rafa Nadal.
Nadal would hope to retain the year-end World No. 2 ranking. The Mallorcan had fallen way behind World No. 1 Novak Djokovic for the number one ranking. Djokovic recently secured the year-end World No. 1 ranking for a record-equaling sixth time.
The last undefeated champion at ATP Finals was Grigor Dimitrov in 2017. Thiem will have to emulate that run to reach a career-high ranking of 2nd.