Beijing: Rafael Nadal is guaranteed to supplant Novak Djokovic atop the rankings after advancing to the final of the China Open on Saturday when Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic retired due to an injury.
The Spaniard was a break up at 4-2 in the opening set of their semifinal match when Berdych retired soon after taking an injury timeout.
Nadal, who improved to 27-0 on hard courts this season, will return to the top ranking for the first time since July 2011. Djokovic has been No. 1 for 101 weeks.
Djokovic plays Richard Gasquet of France in the other semifinal late Saturday.
In the women's semifinals, top-ranked Serena Williams will play Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland and Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic takes on Jelena Jankovic of Serbia