10:25 AM GMT April 22, 2014
Stanislas Wawrinka is on track to book a return trip to The O2 arena after surging to the front of the pack in the Emirates ATP Race to London. Wawrinka clinched his first ATP World Tour Masters 1000 crown on Sunday, defeating Roger Federer in the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters final, and claimed the top spot among those vying for a Final Showdown berth.
Wawrinka, who advanced to the semi-finals in his first appearance at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals in 2013, will lead two-time defending champion Novak Djokovic in first position when the new Race standings are released Monday. The Emirates ATP Race To London reflects points earned by players in 2014 only. (Separately, the Emirates ATP Rankings, in which Wawrinka is ranked No. 3 behind World No. 1 Rafael Nadal and No. 2 Djokovic, reflect player performances over the past 52 weeks.)
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The top Swiss is in the midst of a career-year on the ATP World Tour after capturing a trio of titles, including his maiden Grand Slam crown at the Australian Open. He is 20-3 overall and holds a perfect 6-0 record against Top 10 competition.
Djokovic, meanwhile, drops to No. 2 in the Emirates ATP Race to London following his Monte-Carlo semi-final defeat to Federer, who climbs one spot to No. 3. A three-time titlist at the year-end championships, Djokovic is looking to punch his ticket for the eighth time. He is riding a 10-match winning streak after claiming victory in 2012 (d. Federer) and 2013 (d. Nadal).
Federer is looking to join the eight-man field for the 13th consecutive year and pass Ivan Lendl for the most successive appearances at the season finale. The 32 year old is the most successful player to compete at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals, compiling a 44-11 record and winning the title in 2003-04, ‘06-07 and ‘10-11. Federer is enjoying a resurgent 2014 campaign, posting a 28-5 record thus far, including a title run in Dubai and runner-up finishes at the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 events in Indian Wells and Monte-Carlo.
Rounding out the Top 5 in the Race standings are two-time finalist Rafael Nadal, who is seeking to return to the Final Showdown for the seventh time since 2006 and Tomas Berdych, semi-finalist in 2011. Nadal is still looking to capture the most prestigious title that has eluded him, following a final defeat to Djokovic last year.