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The Final Countdown: Who will reach the summit at the ATP World Tour Finals?

SENIOR ANALYST
Modified 18 Nov 2015, 13:07 IST
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Who will reach the summit and claim the ultimate prize ? ( Cartoon by Himanshu Sachdeva)

Yet another long season of swashbuckling Men’s tennis has almost reached its end. Through the years Champions dated their destinies and flirted with records that only romanticized the Sport a little more.

The top eight seeds of the season are already fighting it out for the ultimate title – the Barclays ATP World Tour – at the fascinating O2 Arena in London.

Reigning World No.1 Novak Djokovic has kick-started the Final Countdown with a dominant showing in his first RR match against Kei Nishikori, ad now it will be interesting to see how the tournament pans out over the next week.

This year’s World Tour Finals (WTF) started on a great note when the ATP Executive Chairman and President Chris Kersmode announced that London would remain the host city for the World Tour Finals till 2018. The tournament that started its first outing at London in 2009 would end up hosting the prestigious tournament for TEN years in a row.

Fun Fact: New York is the only city to have hosted the ATP World Tour Finals for more than 10 years. It hosted the tournament from 1977 – 1989.

The home favorites Andy and Jamie Murray have both qualified for the WTF 2015 in the Singles and Doubles categories respectively. Andy Murray’s NINE losses in his previous 8 WTF campaigns have come against the likes of Federer, Djokovic, Nadal, Davydenko and Ferrer.

The performance of the Murray Brothers at the O2 Arena will be under serious scrutiny as the impending Davis Cup Final is looming large and will follow soon after the WTF. So far they seemed to have handled the pressure well as they both won their first encounters in the RR stage.

Fun fact: Since John and Patrick McEnroe in 1989, Andy and Jamie are the first brothers to qualify for the World Tour Finals in Singles and Doubles in the same year.

Seeded EIGHT, Kei Nishikori suffered merciless drubbing at the hands of Novak Djokovic in his first RR match on Sunday. Hampered by injuries on and off Nishikori has had a relatively lack luster season in 2015.

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With SEVEN titles in Wimbledon, Dubai, Basel and Cincinnati the great Roger Federer will try and seek seventh heaven at the London O2 Arena as well. With 6 ATP titles in this season and 6 WTF titles, Federer defeated Tomas Berdych in straight sets on Sunday to send out a strong message to the rest of the field that he is more than ready for his 7th WTF title.

As bright as the prospect may seem the presence of Novak Djokovic in the same group makes it all the more challenging. Poised at 21 matches apiece in their head-to-head record, today’s blockbuster match will see one of them surge ahead of the other. Irrespective of this outcome, the WTF format houses the tantalizing possibility of a rematch in the finale on Nov 22nd if both of them reach that stage.

Tomas Berdych has qualified for the World Tour Finals  SIX straight times.

On Sunday, coming into his first round robin match against Federer with a 0-5 win loss record in his opening RR matches, Berdych struggled with his consistency. A flurry of unforced errors earned him an unfortunate 0-6 record in his opening RR matches and a pressure cooker situation in his second RR match. Berdych has won all his second RR matches in his past five appearances.

A sixth win today would close the doors on Nishikori’s chances of qualifying for the knock out stage of the tournament.

At 37, the Bryan Brothers still cling on to the coveted Numero Uno in the Doubles race. What is intriguing is that their title haul at the tournament stands at a mere four out of the 100 plus titles these legends have amassed over their illustrious Doubles career.

Fielding questions of retirement over the last one year, it will be interesting to see if the Bryans win their fifth title at the WTF this year. They will have to win their next two round robin matches to do so, however, after being upset by Bopanna and Mergea in their opening match on Sunday.

But it seems that this tournament will belong to Novak Djokovic, and how!

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Published 17 Nov 2015, 16:35 IST
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