Rafael Nadal has accomplished something extraordinary by reclaiming the world No. 1 spot after several uncertain years. On top of the ATP ranking, The Spaniard has won his second title in a row consolidating and expanding the momentum from the US Open in what was his first Beijing title in twelve years. Deciding to take an early start in Asia may have been the best decision-making as he is now prepared to endure some tougher tests, especially this week at Shanghai Rolex Masters. He was seeded first in men's contest and leads the upper half of the draw while his rival and world No. 1 contender Roger Federer will be making the headlines of the bottom half.

If he wins in Shanghai, Nadal is likely to terminate all the hopes Federer is bearing at the moment.

Rafael Nadal shares draw with Marin Cilic and Grigor Dimitrov

As a top seed of this Masters 1000 event, the 31-year-old from Spain received a bye in the opening round. He will start his bid against Jared Donaldson who got past Pablo Cuevas in the previous round. If he gets past the American player, Nadal will face either Fabio Fognini or Lucas Pouille next. Last week, Nadal saved two match points against Pouille in Beijing opener before topping the Frenchman. The quarterfinals may bring another recent acquaintance with Grigor Dimitrov looming in the first quarter of the draw. Nadal got past the 26-year-old Bulgarian to book a spot in Beijing final.

If he reaches the semis, there is a flurry of scenarios as the second quarter doesn't have a clear favorite. Marin Cilic is the highest seed, but the 2017 Wimbledon runner-up is far from his peak form. Kevin Anderson, 2017 US Open runner-up, and Nick Kyrgios are also in that pit.

Nadal trying to break the curse at Shanghai Masters 1000

Traditionally, Shanghai Rolex Masters is a place where Nadal has been having issues in getting his nose in front. He is the runner-up of the 2009 edition which is also his sole appearance that deep in the tournament. If he would match that result, he may have a chance to take some revenge over Roger Federer.

They have had three meetings in 2017, and the Swiss tennis superstar won them all. Moreover, all were played on a hard court (Melbourne, Indian Wells, and Miami).

If Nadal goes all the way this time, the race for that year's end world No. 1 seat will be pretty much over. But, if Roger Federer will win the gap will tighten making the upcoming events some worth-watching thrilling encounters.