ATP Finals Day 5 Preview: Roger Federer Fights For Survival - UBITENNIS
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ATP Finals Day 5 Preview: Roger Federer Fights For Survival

It’s the final day of round robin play for the Lleyton Hewitt Group, and all four players still have a chance to advance.

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Roger Federer will be in serious danger of not advancing to the semifinals for only the second time in 16 ATP Finals appearances if he loses to Kevin Anderson on Thursday. And even a win doesn’t fully secure Federer’s spot in the semifinals. Roger’s only way of qualifying in defeat on Thursday is if Dominic Thiem wins in straight sets. Except for a few extreme cases, Anderson will qualify even if he loses to Federer, except for a few extreme cases.

 

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With a 0-2 record and having not yet won a set this week, Thiem’s only chance of advancing is if he defeats Kei Nishikori in straight sets and Anderson defeats Federer in straight sets. And even then, Thiem’s advancement would be determined by highest percentage of games won between himself, Federer, and Nishikori. Nishikori will likely advance if he wins on Thursday, unless Federer wins in straight sets. Nishikori can also possibly advance with a loss on Thursday, but only if Anderson defeats Federer. Got all that? If not, the below grid from the ATP may be helpful.

Lleyton Hewitt Group Standings

Advancement Scenarios for Thursday:

Dominic Thiem vs. Kei Nishikori

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Kei holds a 3-1 record against Dominic, with Thiem’s only win coming at Roland Garros earlier this year. Nishikori owns victories over Thiem on all three surfaces, including a few weeks ago on an indoor hard court in Vienna. Kei dropped just four games in that quarterfinal. Nishikori played one of the worst matches of his career on Tuesday, taking only one game in a sound defeat at the hands of Anderson. But I would expect Kei to bounce back and play much better tennis today, and he’s a much stronger hard court player than Thiem. Dominic is only 2-6 lifetime at the O2, and is yet to advance to the semifinals, while Nishikori has done so in two of his previous three appearances. I expect Nishikori to prevail here today, though his advancement will still depend upon the result later this evening.

Head-to-head (source: atpworldtour.com)

 

Roger Federer vs. Kevin Anderson

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These two met four months ago in this same city. That was of course in the Wimbledon quarterfinals, a match in which Federer held a match point in the third set. Roger though couldn’t close the match out, and ended up losing to Anderson 13-11 in the fifth. While that epic encounter will be fresh in both players’ minds, it remains Anderson’s only win over Federer. Roger won all four of their other meetings in straight sets: three of which were on hard courts, though all took place between 2013 and 2015. Kevin is a much different player today, and currently leads the Lleyton Hewitt Group after some stellar play this week. Federer rebounded nicely on Tuesday after dropping his opening match, and I’m sure he’ll be eager to avenge the painful Wimbledon loss from earlier this year. However, there’s a lot more pressure on Federer than Anderson based on the current standings and advancement scenarios. And if Nishikori indeed wins earlier in the day, Federer will know he needs to win in straight sets to have a chance of advancing. While I like Roger’s chances to overcome Anderson on an indoor hard court, taking him out in straight sets will be challenging considering Kevin’s current level. Thursday should prove to be a compelling day in London.

Head-to-head (source atpworldtour.com)

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Iga Swiatek Demands Talks With ITF And WTA After Withdrawing From Billie Jean King Cup

Iga Swiatek is not happy with the ITF and WTA after withdrawing from the Billie Jean King Cup Finals.

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Iga Swiatek (@IgaSwi_France - Twitter)

The world number one has announced that she will not compete at the Billie Jean King Cup Finals in November after criticising tennis’ governing bodies for not looking after player welfare.

 

The event is set to take place the week after the WTA Finals in Glasgow which causes a huge problem and obstacle for many players.

This is definitely the case for Swiatek who has qualified for the WTA Finals which takes place in Texas on the 31st of October.

A huge dilemma which now means Swiatek will not compete for her country at the Billie Jean King Cup.

Speaking on Instagram the Pole criticised the decision from the ITF and WTA and wants to speak to them about player welfare to prevent future decisions from happening, “I was thinking it through a lot and discussing it with my team all over again, but I will not be able to play at the Billie Jean King Cup in Glasgow,” Swiatek said in her Instagram story.

“And it makes me sad. I’m very sorry because I play for Poland whenever it’s possible and I always give it my best. Playing in Poland this year was an honour and I hoped to do this again at the end of the season.

“I’m disappointed that tennis governing bodies didn’t come to an agreement on something as basic as the calendar of tournaments, giving us only one day to travel through the globe and changing the time zone. This situation is not safe for our health and could cause injury.

“I’m going to talk to the WTA and ITF in order to change something. This situation is difficult not only for the players like me, but mainly for the tennis fans that support our fans.”

It’s clear Swiatek wants change in terms of player welfare and communication between governing bodies on how to facilitate the schedule.

However Swiatek now turns her attention to preparing for the WTA Finals and first up for the Pole is Ostrava this week.

In her opening match Swiatek will face either Ajla Tomljanovic or Shuai Zhang.

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Cameron Norrie Withdraws From Tokyo After COVID Positive Test

Cameron Norrie will miss the rest of the Asian swing due to COVID.

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Cameron Norrie (@the_LTA - Twitter)

After withdrawing from his quarter-final in Seoul, Cameron Norrie has now withdrawn from the ATP 500 event in Tokyo.

 

The Brit’s absence from the latter stages of the ATP 250 event in South Korea, raised eyebrows with Norrie suffering from illness.

However Norrie then withdraw from the ATP 500 event in Tokyo where he was due to play Thanasi Kokkinakis.

Now his absence has been explained as Norrie confirmed on social media that he tested positive for COVID-19.

In a statement originally posted on Instagram, Norrie explained he had no symptoms but has to quarantine in his hotel room in Seoul, “Unfortunately I had a positive COVID test in Korea and wasn’t able to compete in the rest of my matches,” Norrie said.

“I have no symptoms and I am feeling 100%. It’s been a complicated situation and I appreciate the Republic of Korea trying their best to be amicable in a very tough situation.

“I was really hoping to go to Tokyo but because of the quarantine period I will not be able to play there. Looking forward to getting back to Europe for the indoors. See you guys soon!”

This is the second time Norrie has tested positive for COVID with the first time being before the start of the season.

Norrie’s scheduled next tournament will be in Stockholm which will take place on the 17th of October.

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Carlos Alcaraz Faces Rune Test In Astana

Carlos Alcaraz leads a stacked field in Astana next week.

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Carlos Alcaraz (@WeAreTennis - Twitter)

Carlos Alcaraz returns to the ATP tour next week in Astana next week where he faces Danish talent Holger Rune.

 

The world number one plays his first ATP tournament since winning his first Grand Slam title at the US Open and becoming the youngest world number one in history.

Having qualified for the Nitto ATP Finals, Alcaraz will now look to build momentum over the coming weeks for the event in Turin.

First up for Alcaraz is the ATP 500 event in Astana next week where the Spaniard faces a tough opening round in the form of Danish talent Holger Rune.

The Dane reached his first Grand Slam quarter-final at Roland Garros earlier this year but had struggled for form since then.

However Rune has reached the semi-finals in Sofia this week and is hitting form at the right time so this will be a big test for Alcaraz.

Should Alcaraz get through that test than a potential second round meeting with Stan Wawrinka could be on the cards with the Swiss wildcard facing Adrian Mannarino in his opening match.

Andrey Rublev is the player that could face Alcaraz in the last eight with the eighth seed facing a qualifier in his opening round match.

Rublev is one of a number of players who are chasing the remaining spots at the Nitto ATP Finals.

Also in the top half of the draw is Stefanos Tsitsipas and Hubert Hurkacz with Tsitsipas facing Mikhail Kukushkin.

While Hurkacz faces Francisco Cerundolo and a potential second round match against home favourite Alexander Bublik could await in round two.

In the bottom half of the draw, Novak Djokovic will continue his search for a surge up the rankings against Cristian Garin.

Djokovic’s potential quarter-final is Jannik Sinner who begins against tricky serve and volleyer Oscar Otte.

Daniil Medvedev is also taking part in a stacked field in Astana as he faces Albert Ramos-Vinolas in his opening round match.

In the bottom quarter there is also an intriguing opening round match between Felix Auger-Aliassime and Roberto Bautista Agut.

Here is the full draw with play starting on Monday:

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