Rafael Nadal of Spain. Picture: USA TODAY SPORTS/ROBERT DEUTSCHE
Rafael Nadal of Spain. Picture: USA TODAY SPORTS/ROBERT DEUTSCHE

Paris — Rafael Nadal secured the year-end world No1 ranking with a 7-5 6-3 second-round victory over South Korean Hyeon Chung at the Paris Masters on Wednesday.

The 16-time Grand Slam champion is the oldest man to finish a season at the top of the rankings at the age of 31, after a year that saw him win the French and US Opens.

It is the fourth time the Spaniard has achieved the feat after 2008, 2010 and 2013.

Nadal went into the match knowing victory would give him an unassailable lead as world No1 over old rival Roger Federer, after the Swiss legend withdrew before the start of the Paris tournament.

The 21-year-old Chung put up a brave fight at the Bercy Arena, but a fired-up Nadal proved too hot to handle.

Nadal will next face Pablo Cuevas in the last 16, after the unseeded Uruguayan edged out Albert Ramos-Vinolas 6-7 (5/7) 7-6 (7/1) 6-2.

Sloane Stephens was pummelled by Anastasija Sevastova at the WTA Elite Trophy in Zhuhai on Wednesday, her third successive defeat since winning the US Open. The US player, seeded third in the tournament, was beaten by the Latvian fifth seed in two straight sets 7-5 6-3 in 1hr 28min.

Stephens, 24, was a first-round loser at the Wuhan Open and the China Open in Beijing before pulling out of Hong Kong, but insisted on Monday she was not feeling under pressure.

"I don’t think I played terribly," she said of Wednesday’s match. "I was happy to be playing better than my last matches, so that’s a good thing."

French top seed Kristina Mladenovic was also defeated on Wednesday by Slovakia’s No1 Magdalena Rybarikova 7-5 1-6 7-6 (7/5) in a tight match that saw Rybarikova squander six match points before finally claiming victory.

AFP

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