The groupings for the 2008 Tennis Masters Cup in Shanghai have been released, and even with the withdrawal of Rafael Nadal the field is very, very loaded.
In the Red Group, it’s Roger Federer, Andy Murray, Andy Roddick and Gilles Simon.
The Gold Group will be home to Novak Djokovic, Nikolay Davydenko, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Juan Martin Del Potro.
For my money, the Red Group is the far tougher of the two, but you could make a case for the Gold Group, which I think is really, really wide open.
My initial picks are Federer and Murray to come out of the Red, and right now I’ll go with the guy with the momentum, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, and take Davydenko. And in the end I like the two best players in the field, Federer and Murray, meeting for the title with the Swiss coming through yet again for another Masters Cup crown.
Federer has lost to each guy in his group this year but I think he’ll turn it around here, though it’s going to be tough. In fact, Murray’s my favorite to win the group.
I think Tsonga can knock out both Djokovic and Dayvdenko. And in the battle for the No. 2 two spot – I think JMDP might be looking ahead to the Davis Cup final – I’m not confident that Novak’s found his form yet so I’ll lean to Davydenko getting wins over the Serb and JMDP to get to the Final Four.
Each player gets $100,000 for qualifying plus another $100K for each round-robin win with a maximum of $1.3 million for an undefeated champion. So there’s a lot of dough on the line. Players also pick up 100 ATP ranking points per victory in the round-robin with a tournament-max of 750.
The event begins Sunday.
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