For the first time since 2010 season, Rafael Nadal is set to enter the US Open Tennis Championships as the world No. 1. Currently positioned at the summit, the 31-year-old Spaniard benefited from Andy Murray's inability to defend his points in Cincinnati. Moreover, Roger Federer didn't feature in Cincinnati's draw thus letting Nadal enter the last Major of the season with the world No. 1 ticket in his back pocket. Last year, Nadal lost to Lucas Pouille in the fourth round of the event. This time, it may be a better situation for him to tackle another Grand Slam title even though his tennis output on the North American hard court has been less than convincing.

Nadal failed against the young blood

Once Djokovic, Wawrinka, and Murray decided to take some time off, the summer swing seemed to be a Federer vs. Nadal all-around battle. It wasn't the case s the young blood represented by Alexander Zverev, Denis Shapovalov, Nick Kygios or even Grigor Dimitrov ( he is 26 already) stepped up to steal the show.

Rafael Nadal made two appearances having little to brag about in the end. At Rogers Cup in Montreal, he was stunned by the 18-year-old Canadian rising star Denis Shapovalov with the youngster recovering after being a set down. Shapovalov went on reaching the semis of the Masters 1000 event where he lost to the eventual winner Alexander Zverev, the one who bears the flag of the new generation.

Moving to Cincinnati, Rafael Nadal saw his bid ending as Nick Kyrgios, the 22-year-old Aussie, made a perfect match dispatching the Spaniard in straight sets. Kyrgios reached his first Masters 1000 final only to lose to Grigor Dimitrov, another first-time Masters 1000 finalist.

Ranking points are just a number

When making a prediction, it's hard to take all the parts into consideration.

The easier way is to rely on the current ranking status which in this case has Nadal as the top favorite. But, his recent history prior to US Open may strip his status down. There are others who displayed a better game overall. Alexander Zverev and Grigor Dimitrov must be put in the upper drawer while Nick Kyrgios remains an uncertain bet.

And of course, there is always Roger Federer who seeks to close up a tremendous season with another blistering tennis delivery.

The No. 1 seed in New York, two-time former titlist Rafal Nadal is far from being at his peak now that the first round session is just a few days ahead. But, if he will manage to navigate his way towards the higher stages of the tournament, he can produce something special, a world No. 1 worthy outcome.