ATP Finals 2018: Who are the top contenders in London?
The final tournament of the 2018 tennis calendar commences tomorrow in London. It is the time for the Nitto ATP Finals!
The top eight players in the world will compete against each other in what will be a star-studded event at the O2 Arena. The players are split into two groups - Group Guga Kuerten (A) and Group Lleyton Hewitt (B).
The top two players from each group will qualify for the semifinals. In the semis, the winner of Guga Kuerten will play against the second-placed player from Group Lleyton Hewitt and vice-versa.
Let's have a look at both the groups and the top contenders from each:
Analysis of Group Guga Kuerten
Novak Djokovic, Marin Cilic, Alexander Zverev and John Isner are the players that comprise this group.
Djokovic seems to be the clear favorite to qualify as the winner from here; I do not expect Cilic, Zverev or Isner to give him too much trouble. The Serb might have lost in the final of the Paris Masters last week, but that was more due to Karen Khachanov's outstanding display rather than his own form.
Djokovic has finally overtaken Rafael Nadal to regain the No. 1 spot, and will be the outright favorite going into this tournament.
The other semifinal spot from this group will likely be very hard-fought. I expect the match between Zverev and Cilic to be the eventual quarterfinal.
Zverev has had an inconsistent year, and his current form hasn't been very encouraging. He reached the semis of the Swiss Indoors and the quarters of the Paris Masters, but went out tamely in both matches.
Cilic, meanwhile, lost in the Round of 16 at the Swiss Indoors, to the same opponent that Zverev lost to (Marius Copil). He was much better at the Paris Masters, pushing Djokovic all the way in a thrilling three-set quarterfinal.
My vote goes to Zverev edging out Cilic and qualifying as the runners-up from the Guga Kuerten Group.
Predicted semifinalists: Djokovic and Zverev
Analysis of Group Lleyton Hewitt
Roger Federer, Kevin Anderson, Dominic Thiem and Kei Nishikori are the players that comprise this group.
Can we say that there is a clear favorite here? No; this is definitely a more open group than the other one.
Federer will definitely be the fan favorite in this group, and he is my pick too. I expect him to defeat Nishikori the way he did in their two meetings last month, but the matches against Anderson and Thiem could be either way.
Nishikori might not be favored to defeat Federer, but he has been in fine touch lately. He lost to Anderson in the final of the Vienna tournament but turned the tables against him in the Paris Masters. The Japanese has also had the better of Thiem the last time the two guys met, in the Vienna quarterfinal.
The last time Thiem faced Anderson was in the Round of 16 of the US Open where Thiem won in straight sets. But Anderson has definitely had better results than Thiem on indoor hardcourts - both this year and in the past.
I expect most of the matches in this group to be decided in three sets. The eventual results are difficult to predict but if things go as per past results, Federer will top this group with Anderson being the runner-up
Predicted semifinalists: Federer and Anderson
Predicted semifinal results:
Novak Djokovic def. Kevin Anderson
Roger Federer def. Alexander Zverev
The final showdown for the final trophy of the season is very likely to be Novak Djokovic vs Roger Federer. Who would be favored to win that match? The sensible pick is Djokovic.