Lots of great tennis action this week, and with Rafael Nadal already wrapping up the year-end No. 1 ranking, the spotlight is now on those last few precious Tennis Masters Cup Shanghai berths.
The top five entries are set of the eight-man field with Nadal, Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray and Nikolay Davydenko already qualified.
That leaves just three spots remaining with about six guys chasing. Andy Roddick I think gets in despite his loss to today to Robin Soderling. The way it looks, Roddick, ranked No. 6 entering the week in the Race, will likely wind up as the last guy to make it into Shanghai after he eventually gets passed by the hot Juan Martin Del Potro and the indefatigable Gilles Simon, who both won their matches today.
Idle No. 7 David Ferrer has already been bumped out of the Top 8 and I don’t see him making any kind of surge in Paris next week. Ferrer seems more interested in ending his season ASAP rather than making a strong push for Shanghai.
No. 10 James Blake suffered a serious setback losing to Feliciano Lopez in Basel earlier today. Also I’ll also include Stanislas Wawrinka, Fernando Gonzalez, JW Tsonga, Fernando Verdasco and David Nalbandian as guys who all are still alive, but really longshots. With the way JMDP and Simon are playing they are going to have put up a big, big result next week at the Tennis Masters Paris to pass Roddick and get in.
As for tomorrow, we have some interesting semifinals starting with Basel where Nalbandian gets another shot a Del Potro (hard to bet against Del Potro with the kid having now won 35 of his last 38!). Local favorite Federer plays Lopez in a tricky one.
In Lyon it looks like we’re heading for a Simon v. Tsonga final. Saturday Simon gets Soderling while Tsonga meets the Darcos/Benneteau winner.
Murray has maintained his strong play and focus, reaching the semifinals in St. Petersburg where he’ll run into Fernando Verdasco. Golubev and Hanescu are in the other semifinal.
The Paris draw will also be out soon, and it will be interesting to see just who plays and who doesn’t. Will Rafa? Will Raja? Novak?
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