Saturday, 2 November 2013

ATP World Tour Finals at the O2, London: Preview and Predictions

It's time once again for the top eight to finish the season with a bang at the O2 and I don't know why, but this year I am feeling more excited than ever.  Tomorrow I will start the daily previews of each day but tonight I just wanted to present my early feelings about the week ahead.

Group A: R.Nadal, D.Ferrer, T.Berdych and S.Wawrinka
Rafael Nadal
Of course, group A is the lighter of the two with Rafael Nadal seemingly having avoided any real danger.  Nadal has a combined 48-8 W-L record against his three round robin opponents, but today's 6-3 7-5 loss to David Ferrer in Paris has certainly added a new edge to their match next week, which will be first up on Tuesday.  Even if Nadal was to falter against Ferrer (which I don't see happening) he is a shoe in to beat Tomas Berdych and Stanislas Wawrinka, who just do not have the belief to beat Rafa, even indoors.  

I think Rafa will qualify top, but second place in group A is well and truly up for grabs because I could see the remaining matches aside from Rafa all being close.  Wawrinka has no experience of the WTF's, but he has beaten both Ferrer and Berdych this year.  If he can get off to a good start with a win over Berdych I think he'll qualify, but there is always the chance he could be overrawed by the occasion.  Ferrer is the safer bet, but I am concerned that he has played the last 6 consecutive weeks, going deep in the last 3 tournaments.  The guy is a machine, but even Daveed has some limits.

Moo's Predictions: 1. Nadal and 2. Wawrinka

Group B: N.Djokovic, J.M.del Potro, R.Federer and R.Gasquet
Novak Djokovic
Poor old Reeshard... Group B is a beast and in truth, I would have liked  to see Juan Martin Del Potro in group A to even them up a bit.  It does promise us three fantastic clashes with Djokovic v Del Potro top of my list of mouthwatering matches! I think Novak Djokovic will qualify top of the group, dropping one set to Del Potro and edging out Roger Federer too.  The crucial match will be the DelPo v Fed one and with their recent match-ups, it promises to be juicy.

On paper, Richard Gasquet doesn't stand much chance with a 1-5 head-to-head record with Del Potro and an even more miserable 1-9 against Djokovic.  He has 2 wins to his name against Federer, but both came on clay.  After watching his match against Nadal in Paris where he camped out at the back of the baseline for it's entirety, I hold little hope for Gasquet.  Fed against DelPo will be the clincher and I expect a fantastic match, probably on Saturday if things go to the form book.

Moo's Predictions: 1. Djokovic and 2. del Potro

Moo's Final Prediction: Djokovic d. del Potro

It's no lie, I love the big Argentinian dude and I think he will make the final this year, just coming up short in a classic finale with Djokovic.  I would have gone DelPo all the way, but I am slightly concerned about his fitness having played an exhausting amount of tennis in recent weeks.  Nadal is certainly not at his strongest indoors and 3 hard court losses to Djokovic (Beijing), Del Potro (Shanghai) and Ferrer (Paris) have certainly taken something away from that aura that was shining brighter than the sun after destroying the field in Cincy and New York. 

All in all, this promises to be a captivating week of tennis.  I am at the O2 Monday afternoon for Berdych v Wawrinka and I hope to blog about my experiences later in the week.  Unfortunately the O2 has a crappy restriction on cameras so there won't be many pictures, but I'll take some with my phone at least.  I'll be in the gods, but I am looking forward to experiencing the atmosphere :-)

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