Rafael Nadal is through to the semi-finals, but the second place from group A is still up for grabs with Stanislas Wawrinka and Tomas Berdych still in contention.
1. David Ferrer v Stanislas Wawrinka
Stanislas Wawrinka came close, but still came out of an excellent round robin match against Rafael Nadal without an elusive set. Nadal is 12-0 in matches and 24-0 in sets against Wawrinka as he edged past Stan in 2 tiebreak sets, 7-6(5) 7-6(6). Wawrinka came from a break down in both sets and was there in both tiebreaks, but was unable to stay with Nadal. In the first set tiebreak, he appeared to stumble on a simple putaway down set point. The Swiss man though has played well this tournament and will fancy his chances against a tiring David Ferrer, who never gave up, but fell in straight sets to Tomas Berdych, 6-4 6-4.
Ferrer leads the head-to-head by 7 wins to 4, but Stan won their last match in style in the Oeiras final on clay, 6-1 6-4. Stan HAS to beat Ferrer to qualify for the semi-finals, but I think he has shown us enough high quality tennis over his first two matches to suggest he will beat a frazzled Ferrer and confirm his spot in the semi-finals.
Prediction – Wawrinka to beat Ferrer in 2 tight sets
2. Tomas Berdych v Rafael Nadal
If Tomas Berdych can cause an almighty shock and usurp the already qualified, Rafael Nadal, then the towering Czech can muscle his way into the semi-finals. It is a big if though because Berdych is currently on a brilliantly barren run against Nadal losing their last FIFTEEN matches and winning just two sets in the process. Berdych was disapppointing in his first match against Wawrinka, but he raised his game against Ferrer with a exceptional serving performance, winning 29 of 30 first serve points to defeat Ferrer, 6-4 6-4. Nadal has looked solid this week, but definitely not unbeatable and with his place in the semi-finals already confirmed, Berdych will at least feel there is a chance to exploit that. However I would still fancy Nadal to prevail with this match-up being a terribly tall mental order for Berdych to achieve, which would mean the Berd has to rely on Ferrer to beat Wawrinka.
Prediction – Nadal to beat Berdych in 3 sets
Qualification scenarios from Group A (from the ATP Tour Website)
1) Regardless of score, if R. NADAL defeats T. BERDYCH and D. FERRER defeats S. WAWRINKA, then R. NADAL wins the group and T. BERDYCH qualifies 2nd.
2) Regardless of score, if R. NADAL defeats T. BERDYCH and S. WAWRINKA defeats D. FERRER, then R. NADAL wins the group and S. WAWRINKA qualifies 2nd.
3) Regardless of score, if T. BERDYCH defeats R. NADAL and D. FERRER defeats S. WAWRINKA, then T. BERDYCH wins the group and R. NADAL qualifies 2nd.
4) If T. BERDYCH defeats R. NADAL in 2 sets and S. WAWRINKA defeats D. FERRER in 2 sets, then T. BERDYCH wins the group and R. NADAL qualifies 2nd.
5) If T. BERDYCH defeats R. NADAL in 2 sets and S. WAWRINKA defeats D. FERRER in 3 sets, then T. BERDYCH wins the group and R. NADAL qualifies 2nd.
6) If T. BERDYCH defeats R. NADAL in 3 sets and S. WAWRINKA defeats D. FERRER in 2 sets, then R. NADAL wins the group and T. BERDYCH qualifies 2nd.
7) If T. BERDYCH defeats R. NADAL in 3 sets and S. WAWRINKA defeats D. FERRER in 3 sets, then R. NADAL wins the group and T. BERDYCH qualifies 2nd