MANU FERNANDEZ/AP/Press Association Images

Nadal nudges closer to Djokovic

The Spaniard captured his seventh Barcelona Open title to move within 3,000 ranking points of the world No1, while Maria Sharapova thumped Victoria Azarenka to move within sight of the top spot.

RAFAEL NADAL HAS nudged closer to Novak Djokovic at the summit of the latest ATP rankings, while defeated semifinalist Milos Raonic – still only 21 years of age – vaults to a career-high of 23.

Taking advantage of his Serbian rival’s absence, Nadal battled to a seventh Barcelona Open crown on Sunday with a 7-6 (7-1) 7-5 win over world No5 David Ferrer.

The Spaniard has now accumulated 10,170 world ranking points, but still trails the top-ranked Serb by a margin of nearly 3,000.

There was only one change in the top 10, with big-serving American John Isner moving up to 10th place at the expense of Argentine Juan Martin del Potro, who in turn slipped below Frenchman Gilles Simon to 12th.

Victoria Azarenka still occupies the top spot of the women’s rankings, but a convincing victory in Stuttgart sees Maria Sharapova both tighten her grip on second place and close the gap on the Belarusian rival.

Petra Kvitova and Agnieszka Radwanska round out the top four, while Australian Sam Stosur remains in fifth spot.

German Mona Barthel, who is enjoying a breakout year on tour, improved her ranking to a career-high 31 after impressive victories over Ana Ivanovic and Marion Bartoli in Stuttgart.

Donald regains top rank as Dufner claims  win

Deserved: Rougerie no complaint with Leinster win