ATP China Open: Rafael Nadal to return to pole position next week
Rafael Nadal will return to No 1 in the world rankings after Tomas Berdych retired injured at the China Open.
Last Updated: 05/10/13 2:55pm
Berdych trailed 4-2 in the opening set when he took a medical time out before returning to the court.
But he lasted for just a few more points before having to call it a day and Nadal, 27, will now be confirmed as the world's top player on Monday.
The Spaniard has not held top spot since July 2011 but after battling back from a long-term knee injury he will replace Novak Djokovic at the summit.
Djokovic brushed aside Frenchman Richard Gasquet 6-4 6-2 in the other semi-final to set up a mouthwatering clash against his arch-rival.
Nadal's rise to the top follows a remarkable return to the court following a lengthy lay-off with a knee injury.
Since his comeback in February, the Spaniard has won 10 titles from 12 finals, including the French Open and US Open.
Nadal's last spell as world No 1 lasted 56 weeks before he was replaced at the summit by Serbia's Djokovic two years ago.
"(This is) a great year, one of the best years of my career without any doubt," Nadal told the ATP Tour's official website.
"(It) sure is special be back to the top position of the rankings after more than a half year without playing tennis."
Nadal has not lost since his surprise opening-round defeat to 135th-ranked Steve Darcis at Wimbledon.
"At the end, it's just a number... What [makes] me happy is (everything) I did to be back where I am today," said Nadal.
Djokovic, who spent 101 weeks in the pole position, was broken by Gasquet in the fourth game of the opening set but came back strongly to improve his record to 9-1 against the Frenchman.
The Serb is looking for his fourth title in five years in Beijing.