Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer wrote a unique page in tennis history by teaming up for the very first time in what was a refreshing contest a few weeks ago in Prague during the Laver Cup. But, at the end of the day, they remain two of the greatest rivals tennis has ever had and the upcoming weeks may deliver another chapter of this rivalry. Ranked first and second, in the world, Nadal and Federer have several ATP events left in the pot before the season ends. One of these two is set to end the year as the world No. 1 as no one won't bother them in their quests.

While Nadal is the current leader, Federer will try to close the gap as he is set to appear in Shanghai, Basel, Paris and the Nitto ATP Finals in London.

Rafael Nadal can increase the gap this week in Beijing

Unlike Federer who is set to make a singular play in Asia, Nadal took an early start by entering the ATP 500 event in Beijing. He survived a thriller in the opening round with him saving two match points before conquering Lucas Pouille. The current gap between Nadal and Federer is roughly about 2 000 points. A potential triumph at China Open in Beijing will add almost 500 more to the crack.

It seems that Nadal won't allow Federer to spoil the party in the closing stages of the season. Traditionally, Nadal's yield is lower during this segment of the year and seeing him with an early start of the Asian leg means that he is eager to consolidate the lead.

Still, trying to overplay or overschedule events may have unwanted consequences. If Nadal gets an injury, he may be forced to skip some of the future events. Moreover, he has a negative record when it comes to the ATP Finals and indoor events in general.

Can Roger Federer accomplish what Murray did last year?

Back in 2016, Andy Murray had a surreal performance winning a handful of ATP events in a row in the closing stages of the season.

Doing so, he was able to get his nose in front of Djokovic clinching the world No. 1 spot in progress. A similar scenario is what Roger Federer needs to get past Nadal but if the Spaniard digs deep in the future events a significant number of points earned will keep him safe with Federer still trailing as the world No. 2.

For Roger Federer, this is probably the last chance to reach the summit.

Aged 36, he is expected to keep playing for few more years even though the schedule might get even thinner. The encouraging part is that Federer has had great results in the past on these late challenges of the season. In order to surpass Nadal, he needs that a possible solid winning streak to be translated into two or three titles.