How the Math Behind Roger Federer’s Clay Season Helps His World Ranking

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That still allowed him to inch ahead of Zverev, who was knocked out in the quarterfinals. His 180 points were was nothing compared with the 1,000 he was defending, so he fell to 4,745 ranking points and dropped below Thiem.

Tsitsipas reaped huge benefits in Madrid. He was a wild card in 2018, losing in the first round to earn just 10 points. Tsitsipas’s finals appearance this year tacked 590 new points on to his ranking, enabling him to jump from ninth to seventh over all.

Despite an early exit in Rome, Federer again benefited — as long as there are no lingering effects from the leg injury he sustained after the Italian Open’s scheduling problems forced him and others to play two matches in one day. Zverev, a 2018 finalist, fell in the second round, as did Thiem, who lost in that round the previous year, while Federer reached the third.

So Zverev dropped farther in the points race, to 4,155, leaving him just ahead of Tsitsipas, who reached sixth in the rankings and 4,080 points thanks to his semifinal run (after reaching just the second round in 2018).

Thiem will enter the French Open, which starts Sunday, at 4,845 points — more than 1,000 points behind Federer, who was not defending anything in Rome and thus surged 180 points.

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Tsitsipas reached only the second round at the French Open in 2018 and enters the tournament with great momentum. Another deep run, especially at the expense of Thiem and Zverev, could push him into the top 5.

And while all the points Federer has gained won’t help him win any matches at the French Open, which he has not played since 2015, merely showing up will mean a stronger chance of a top three seed as he heads to Wimbledon in pursuit of his ninth title there.

If he reaches the fourth round at Roland Garros, he will gain 180 points, while Thiem must reach the finals to defend his 1,200 points from 2018, and Zverev needs to reach the quarterfinals to avoid losing ground again.



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