Nitto ATP Finals 2018: Previewing The Two Groups
The impending battle of the top stars is all set to take tennis fans on a mesmerizing journey that shall further bring the curtains down on the season. The year ending showpiece, the Nitto ATP Finals that will commence from the 11th November till the 18th promises to be a tennis treat for fans who look forward to watching their favorite stars battle it out for the year-end crown.
In what will be the 49th edition of the singles and 44th in doubles, the O2 Arena in London is all set to witness the gladiators sweep the crowds off their feet with some supreme tennis on display for a week.
The elite eight top players who will fight it out, including six-time tournament champ Roger Federer, World No 1 Novak Djokovic, debutants Kevin Anderson and John Isner along with Alexander Zverev, Kei Nishikori, Marin Cilic, and the Austrian Dominic Thiem.
The 2018 season has brought forth numerous stories of grit and determination. Some that inspired, some that had us in awe, and a few others that instilled belief in hard work and perseverance. While the great Spaniard Rafael Nadal endured a tough season inflicted with injuries and forced to sit out many of the tournaments, there was a certain Serb who quietly worked his way up to the zenith. The season also shared the agony of defending champion in London, Grigor Dimitrov who was nowhere close to his brilliant run like the year last and kept slipping down adding to his dwindling form.
The latter half of the year obviously was underlined with Djokovic’s tremendous resurgence. But not to forget, it was also an overwhelming story of the Japanese Kei Nishikori’s relentless spirit who will feature for a fourth time at the ATP Finals after missing out last season due to injury.
Meanwhile, Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic are the two significant names who have been winners six and five times respectively at the Finals. World No 3 Federer who has a staggering 55-14 W-L at the event will be eying a record seventh title in London while Djokovic who is 32-11 at the O2 will look to join the Swiss for a sixth title at the event.
It will be intriguing to see if we will see a new champion emerge from the pack or will it be either of Federer or Djokovic who will claim the title again.
We preview the two groups and analyse the chances of these eight contenders.
The eight players who will play in a round robin format are divided into two groups. Every player will play each other in their group and the two of them with the best results proceed to the semifinals to play against the other two runners-up from the other group which is the knockout stage.
The two groups are Group Guga Kuerten and Group Lleyton Hewitt.
Here is a dive into the draw:
GROUP GUGA KUERTEN will feature the following four:
#1 Novak Djokovic
#3 Alexander Zverev
#5 Marin Cilic
#8 John Isner
Novak Djokovic (seed 1, ranking No 1)
The World No 1 Novak Djokovic obviously begins as the favourite. Having claimed the title five times, the Serb is well versed with winning ways. Looking to cap a sensational end to a brilliant season, Djokovic will leave no stone unturned to be able to wear the season ending crown with elan.
Having missed out on the latter half of the last season due to an elbow injury, the Serb has endured the most roughest time of his career. Even after his comeback from injury this season, the start was a dampener. It was only at Roland Garros, where reaching the quarter finals ensured that he was on an upward scale despite his loss to Marco Cecchinato.
From thereon, the 31-year-old went on to win the Wimbledon Championships, the US Open and also won two Masters 1000 titles that came in Cincinnati and Shanghai catapulting him to the zenith of the ATP rankings.
Djokovic, who was a winner at the tournament in 2008 and from 2012- 2015, is once again set to give it his best in London at the Finals.