The race for the World Tour Finals at the O2 will continue in Paris on Thursday as Milos Raonic, David Ferrer, Andy Murray, Kei Nishikori and Grigor Dimitrov all won on Wednesday. In the day matches, Fabio Fognini was the only seed to fall, losing out to the world number 176 French qualifier, Lucas Pouille. Firstly, credit to Pouille for another superb victory. Fognini failed to serve out both sets and lost his cool at the end of the match, which saw the umpire, Carlos Bernandes refuse to shake his hand at first. Fabio’s recent antics on the tour have been an absolute disgrace. The ATP’s measly fines are appalling and they need to seriously clamp down on his behaviour.
1. Grigor Dimitrov v Andy Murray (ATP Paris, R3)
Andy Murray won his tenth consecutive match in Paris on Tuesday, beating Julien Benneteau, 6-3 6-4 in his first match of the week. Murray responded well after winning the title in Valencia on Sunday, coming through a brutal and bruising encounter with Tommy Robredo, which lasted three hours and 20 minutes. Murray is playing his sixth tournament in as many weeks; one more win will officially confirm his place at the World Tour Finals, but he’s pretty much there. In contrast, his opponent on Thursday, Grigor Dimitrov needs to reach the final to keep his hopes alive of making the final eight in London. Dimitrov started his week with a confident 6-0 6-3 victory over Pablo Cuevas. Personally, i’d like to see Dimitrov make the O2 over the likes of Ferrer, Berdych and Raonic, but I can’t see it happening.
This will be the third time that Murray and Dimitrov have played each other in 2014. Dimitrov has won both their previous encounters this year. The first of those came in Acapulco, a fantastic match which Dimitrov won, 4-6 7-6(5) 7-6(3). The third set of Dimitrov-Murray featured some of the most enjoyable ATP tennis i’ve watched all year. The most recent win came at Wimbledon where Dimitrov won in straight sets, stunning the Centre Court crowd. Murray has played himself into form over the last six weeks, but he’s also admitted that he could do with a break after a punishing schedule. Under normal circumstances, i’d take Murray in this match, but Dimitrov is playing well enough to take advantage of Murray’s weary legs and advance to the quarter-finals.
Prediction: Dimitrov d. Murray in 3 sets
ATP Paris 3rd Round Predictions
David Ferrer d. Fernando Verdasco in 2 tight sets
Kei Nishikori d. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in 3 sets
Tomas Berdych d. Feliciano Lopez in 2 tight sets
Kevin Anderson d. Stan Wawrinka in 3 sets
Milos Raonic d. Roberto Bautista Agut in 3 tight sets
Roger Federer d. Lucas Pouille in 2 sets