The final tournament of the 2014 season will soon be upon us! The draw for the round robin groups at the ATP World Tour Finals were announced earlier this afternoon, but play won’t kick off until Sunday. The tennis season may be coming to an end, but stay tuned to Moo’s Tennis Blog for a series of off-season features to (hopefully) keep you entertained until the New Year. Straight after the conclusion of the World Tour Finals in London, i’ll be kicking off the countdown of my top 20 WTA matches of the year. This is my favourite feature of the year and you can check out my previous countdowns HERE. Anyway, here are a few thoughts about the World Tour Finals. I’ll be at the O2 on Sunday evening so hopefully (if I can get my camera through security!) i’ll have a few pics and a report from the Federer-Raonic match.
GROUP A: Novak Djokovic, Stan Wawrinka, Tomas Berdych and Marin Cilic
To be honest, which ever group Novak Djokovic was placed in would appear as a favourable draw. Djokovic has a 41-5 W-L record against his three opponents in group A, which has largely been described as the significantly weaker of the two groups. Djokovic will be the favourite to qualify from group A unless something drastically went wrong. It’s not an impossible situation, but based on the way Djokovic played in Paris………..
The battle between the three remaining players to qualify should be intriguing. Stan Wawrinka, Tomas Berdych and Marin Cilic are all evenly matched. Wawrinka is the number three seed, but arrives in London with the weakest set of results post-US Open. In Paris, Wawrinka won his first match in well over a month, but still went out in the third round in a tense and tight tussle with Kevin Anderson. Berdych has produced the best results of the three, playing five tournaments in the fall season and earning his place in the final eight for the fifth year in a row. The Czech player has picked his form up after a stuttering spell during the middle stage of the season. However, I still have a nagging doubt about Berdych mentally. He demonstrated this in a three set loss to Milos Raonic in the semi-finals of Paris, playing a woeful final game.
Cilic skipped Paris because of an arm injury, but won the ATP 250 event in Moscow a couple of weeks ago. His form in Asia was a little ragged, but also to be expected after a life-changing result at the US Open. Many of the matches in this group could go either way and a lot depends on whether Wawrinka can rediscover some kind of form. Personally, I quite like Marin’s chances of bagging a spot in semi-finals.
Predictions for the semi-finals: Djokovic and Cilic
Group B: Roger Federer, Kei Nishikori, Andy Murray and Milos Raonic
Group B looks fun. Not only has it produced some excellent potential match-ups but it looks wide open. The first set of matches, which will see Roger Federer take on Milos Raonic and Kei Nishikori play Andy Murray, will both be fascinating. Raonic scored a huge win over Federer in Paris, meanwhile Murray and Nishikori haven’t played since the start of 2013. This won’t be a doddle for Federer and he will need to play some good tennis to qualify for the semi-finals. Federer only leads one of the H2H’s against group B opponents and that is Raonic…
Murray comes into the tournament with a renewed confidence after playing his way into form through a brutal fall season that saw him play six consecutive tournaments. His hard work saw him leap up to the number five seed, having been languishing well outside the top eight for the majority of the year. Raonic’s position in the top eight didn’t receive the warmest of welcomes on social media, but you can’t deny the Canadian player has earnt his place in London. Nishikori’s health is always a concern, but he has a whole week off and has proven that he has got much stronger during the second half of the year. I wouldn’t be surprised to see any of the four make the semi-finals…
Predictions for the semi-finals: Federer and Murray