ATP World Tour Finals Day 1 Preview: Novak Djokovic to begin title defence against Kei Nishikori - UBITENNIS
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ATP World Tour Finals Day 1 Preview: Novak Djokovic to begin title defence against Kei Nishikori

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Kei Nishikori will be given the huge task of upsetting the World No.1 and defending champion on opening day

The ATP World Tour Finals begin Sunday, with the World No. 1 set to begin the defence of his crown. Novak Djokovic is in incredible form, boasting a 22-0 record since his defeat to Roger Federer in Cincinnati, and has dropped just one set in his last three tournaments. The evening match sees Roger Federer take on Tomas Berdych, who is making his sixth appearance in London.

 

Novak Djokovic vs Kei Nishikori (Not Befoe 2:00pm GMT)

The World No.1 will face a man who has had a good year, but has not reached the high levels of performance he produced in 2014. Yet Kei Nishikori will still be no easy task for Djokovic. Ttitles in Memphis, Barcelona, and Washington DC prove that when he has been able to avoid injury this year, he is as tough as anyone. Enjoyed a good debut at the World Tour Finals last year, as he defeated Andy Murray and David Ferrer to qualify second in the group behind Federer.

Flashback: These two met in the semi-finals last year, with Nishikori the only player to actually take a set off Djokovic. However, it still had a lopsided look to it in a 6-1, 3-6, 6-0 win for the eventual champion. Their only meeting this year actually went along a similar path, Djokovic winning 6-3, 3-6, 6-1.

Prediction: Djokovic is a different player to the one that Nishikori took a set from last year, or even earlier this. A lot will be determined by just how fit the Japanese star is (he has assured everyone he is fine). By a lot means if he gets two or three games, or six or seven, I’m going Djokovic 6-2, 7-5.

Roger Federer vs Tomas Berdych (Not Before 8:00pm GMT)

Roger Federer is in good form heading into London. Yes, he lost earlier than he would have liked in Paris to John Isner, but the truth is just about everyone can lose to the 6’10 server if he makes the service count. Well, maybe everyone except Djokovic. Nevertheless, that defeat has garnered Federer what could turn out extra valuable preparation for London, and truth be told, he could not have hoped for much better to start his campaign for a seventh year-end title. In two best-of-three set meetings with Berdych this season, Federer lost just ten games. Across the two matches.

For Tomas Berdych, the key is in the surface. Indoor hard favours his big flat-hitting game. Though this favours Federer too, Berdych cannot afford to contemplate that, but consider what he can bring to the table. A win in Stockholm indoors suggests form, but in reality was a field that offered little top quality, having to beat no top 20 players for the title. You can only beat the players you are drawn against but, in this case, the challenge for Berdych is a daunting one.

Prediction: Close, with a tiebreak possible. But Federer is unrelenting when it comes to indoor matches, and should be winning this opener. Federer 7-6, 6-4.

Stat: Despite that fact that both men have player every World Tour Finals event since 2010, this is the first time they will face each other in this tournament.

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Matteo Berrettini Scores Historic Win Before Exit From ATP Finals

The 23-year-old ends his breakthrough season on the ATP Tour with another milestone in his career.

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LONDON: Matteo berrettini has become the first Italian player in history to win a match at the ATP Finals after defeating Dominic Thiem on Thursday afternoon.

 

The world No.8 managed to dismantle the game of his rival, who was far from his best at times, with the help of his blistering serve to seal the 7-6(3), 6-3, victory. Ending Thiem’s streak of four consecutive wins over top 10 players, including Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer earlier this week. 

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Focus On Tennis, Not Politics: Former Legends Back Inaugural ATP Cup Amid Ongoing Dispute

The brand new tennis event sparks excitement, intrigue and yet more uncertaincy for the future of men’s team tennis.

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The launch of the Davis Cup at the 2018 ATP Finals

LONDON: The attention should be on the court and not what is going on in the background. This is the message being stressed by the ATP less than two months before the launch of their latest masterpiece.

 

The ATP Cup has been billed as an event that has the potential to overshadow the historic 119-year-old Davis Cup. Held over 12 days at the start of January in Australia, 24 teams will lock horns in a group format. Unlike any other current team event, both ranking points and prize money will be up for grabs. A huge attraction for many of the men’s elite during what is a turbulent time in tennis politics.

“I ask you, I know there is lots of talk about tennis politics and all of that sort of stuff, but please get behind this event. I genuinely believe we are all in this business together, trying to sell our sport.” ATP CEO Chris Kermode pleaded during a press conference on Thursday in London.
“This (the ATP Cup) will be global and we want to try to reach new markets by presenting it in a different way.”

The tournament promises to provide a mixture of current stars working with former legends of the sport. The German team will be lead by captain Boris Becker, who was nominated for the role by Alexander Zverev. Under rules of the competition, captains are nominated by the top player from each country after discussions with their fellow teammates.

“Tennis is in a very good place right now. The fact that we have so many new competitions speaks for the interests, speaks for the image and the quality of the players we have.” Said Becker.
“This format gives players a chance to, in one way, represent their country, another way start the year off with a big bang.” He added.

https://twitter.com/ATPCup/status/1194733806344912896

It’s not perfect, but it will do for now

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From 2020 there will be three team tournaments taking place on the men’s tour. Besides the ATP Cup, the Davis Cup now has a week-long finale at the end of the season in November. Meanwhile, the Roger Federer-backed Laver Cup occurs shortly after the US Open.

With three team events taking place during what is already a packed calendar, some have questioned the long-term likelihood of these events co-existing. Leading to some of the sport’s biggest names calling for the two of the biggest tournaments to be combined. A far from simple concept given the Davis Cup is run by the ITF, not the ATP. In recent months the two governing bodies have held somewhat tentative discussions with little compromise being reached.

Of course we need to fix a couple of more things on the tour to make a big, big competition. I think two team tournaments, Davis Cup and ATP Cup in one month, is something that, in my opinion, is not good.” Rafael Nadal commented during the Paris Masters.
“My feeling is that we need to create one big, big competition to stay together. ITF, ATP, that’s a good opportunity to make that happen and we need to make that happen.”

Nadal is not along in his calls. World No.2 Novak Djokovic has also made similar comments. They argue that having one big event will alleviate pressure on the player’s schedule and not have such an impact on what is already a very limited off-season period.

Adavntage ATP Cup

1995 French Open champion Thomas Muster leads the Austrian contingent. He points out that the current date of the new event places it in a stronger position of that held by the Davis Cup. Djokovic and Nadal have both stated their intention to play in the Davis Cup next week. However, Nadal had admitted that he is unsure of how his body will hold. Meanwhile, Marin Cilic and Milos Raonic have both withdrawn due to injury. Furthermore, Federer and Alexander Zverev have opted to play exhibition matches instead of the event.

“That sort of brings back to the conclusion of why certain players are not playing at the end of the year at Davis Cup final.” Said Muster. “It’s just because it’s late in the season, and players are tired and they have played a lot, and there is not much time between now and the new start of the season.”

Fellow former world No.1 and Russian captain Marat Safin also issued the same sentiment. Deciding the ATP Cup as ideal preparation for the Australian Open. A tournament he won back in 2005.

“It’s a perfect setup for this event at the beginning of the year, so all the guys are already in Australia and they want to start with a good step in the new year,” Safin stated.
“Quite interesting placement of the event, the beginning of the year. I think it’s a good choice.”

There is a feeling that at some point, one team event has to give way. Although it is impossible to see which one. It won’t be the newly created ATP Cup, which has a prize money pool of $15 million. The Laver Cup has managed to gain growth within the past three years. Meanwhile, the Davis Cup has received a much-needed investment from Kosmos. Creating a complicated situation in the sport.

“Is this the perfect scenario? No.” Admits Becker. “But I don’t want to talk about the politics in tennis. I think we are here today to speak about a new competition, a new venture, a new event, which is great.”
“I’m not responsible for the Davis Cup format, and I’m not responsible for the Laver Cup, either.”

The ATP Cup will officially launch on January 3d.

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ATP Finals 2019 Day 5 Preview: Will It Be Djokovic Or Federer In The Semis?

It’s the 49th installment of Federer against Djokovic, with the winner moving onto the semifinals, and the loser being eliminated from the tournament.

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The advancement scenarios for today are that simple, as Dominic Thiem has already guaranteed his place in the semis with tremendous back-to-back wins over both Djokovic and Federer.  For Djokovic, there are also year-end No.1 ranking implications, as he now needs to win this event to keep his hopes alive. And while Matteo Berrettini cannot advance to the semis after going 0-2 thus far, he’ll play to become the first Italian man to ever win a match at the ATP Finals.

 

Dominic Thiem (3) vs. Matteo Berrettini (8)

This will be their third meeting within the past five weeks.  Berrettini prevailed in the Shanghai quarterfinals to reach his first Masters 1,000 semi, while Thiem was victorious at home in Vienna on his way to that title.  Their only other previous encounter was last year at Roland Garros, where Dominic won in four. What a week it’s already been for Thiem, but he has a lot of work still ahead of him.  And perhaps he is due for a letdown after two sensational wins, especially with his qualification for the semifinals already secured. However, Dominic should feel supremely confident coming off his results earlier this week.  And I’m sure his team will warn him of the danger in allowing his level to drop today, even with the result having no impact on his advancement. On the other side of the net, Berrettini has absolutely nothing to lose. Matteo can play freely, and knows he owns a recent win over Thiem.  Still, based on his form this week, Dominic should be favored to go 3-0 in the Bjorn Borg Group round robin play.

Novak Djokovic (2) vs. Roger Federer (3)

Four months ago in this same city, Djokovic saved two championship points and went on to defeat Federer in the first-ever 12-all fifth set tiebreak at Wimbledon to win his 16th Major singles title.  It was a heartbreaking loss for Federer, who was just one point away from his record-extending 21st Major.  Instead, he’s now just four Majors ahead of Djokovic, and only one ahead of Nadal after Rafa’s US Open victory.  Overall Djokovic leads this prolific rivalry 26-22. Novak has claimed their last five meetings, dating back to the championship match at this event four years ago.  But notably, Roger’s last win was just a few days prior, during the round robin stage of this tournament in 2015. On hard courts, Djokovic leads their head-to-head 19-17.  At the ATP Finals, Novak leads 3-2. Djokovic looked extremely agitated at times on Tuesday, seemingly surprised by how vehemently the crowd was rooting for Thiem. But Djokovic will know the London audience to be fully behind Roger today, so I don’t expect that to throw him.  Federer will certainly be eager to avenge the Wimbledon defeat from earlier this year, though overcoming Djokovic on this surface is no easy task. I anticipate another tight contest today between these two all-time greats, but give the slight edge to Novak to prevent Roger from advancing to the semifinals for just the second time in 17 appearances at the ATP Finals.

A breakdown of the Djokovic-Federer rivalry

By tournament

Grand Slams: Djokovic leads 10-6
ATP Finals: Djokovic leads 3-2
Masters 1000: Djokovic leads 11-9
ATP 500 events: Federer leads 4-2
Davis Cup: Federer leads 1-0

By year

YEAR

DJOKOVIC

FEDERER

2006

0

2

2007

1

3

2008

1

2

2009

3

2

2010

1

4

2011

4

1

2012

3

2

2013

2

0

2014

3

3

2015

5

3

2016

1

0

2017

0

0

2018

2

0

2019

1

0

 TOTAL

26

22

 

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