Play in the Gold Group at the Tennis Masters Cup Shanghai is now complete, and Novak Djokovic is the winner and in second is Nikolay Davydenko who clinched his semifinal place earlier today with a 6-3, 6-2 win over Juan Martin Del Potro.
Both Djokovic and Davydenko finished 2-1 (Djokovic lost today to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga for the third time in the last month) but Novak wins the group based on his win over the Russian head-to-head.
In the finals of the Red Group Friday, in perhaps the most anticipated match of the tournament thus far, Roger Federer will bid for a semifinal spot against Andy Murray. Federer, a four-time winner of the Masters Cup, must beat the Scot who really has little to play for having already qualified for the last four.
But Murray says against the World No. 2, he’ll give it his all.
“I try and beat Federer. You know, I mean, ideally I’d like to knock him out of the competition if I can. I’d rather not have to play him twice in one week, you know. He’s the best player ever.
Obviously there’s a lot more pressure on him to win than me. It will be the first time I’ve played him when I’ve not been under pressure, you know. If I can — I don’t know if I’ve won the group. I don’t even know how it works. I didn’t even know if I’d qualified yet, so…
If I’ve already won the group, or not, I guess I can almost decide, you know, do I want to play whoever the first in the other group or the second or whatever. You know, a lot of ways you could look at it.
But I plan on trying to win the match. I think if I win that one, I pretty much knock him out of the competition, ’cause I can’t see Stepanek beating Simon.”
But before the showcase match of the day, Gilles Simon and Radek Stepanek will meet with the Frenchman’s fortune really out of his hands and in Roger’s.
So on to the “What ifs”…
The way I see it is first Stepanek cannot qualify for the semifinals so he’s eliminated from any and all tiebreaker/qualification discussion.
Murray has qualified because Simon cannot pass him in sets won percentage (Murray is 4-1, Simon 2-3 and in a tie Murray has the H2H).
If Federer loses, Simon is the No. 2 for the group (he holds the H2H over Raja should Gilles himself lose), and he’ll play Djokovic Saturday (Murray would face Davydenko).
If both Federer and Simon win, then those two along with Murray will all be 2-1, and Federer wins the group because he’ll have the H2H over Murray (Simon cannot tie Federer in that case in sets won).
Confused yet? Well, what if Murray retires to Federer in the first set?? Okay, let’s just hope that doesn’t happen!
Bottom line (I think!), if Murray wins he’ll play Davydenko Saturday. If he loses he’ll play Djokovic and then may have to play Federer again in the final.
That said, I think Andy would much rather play Davydenko and then maybe Djokovic to win the title, than Djokovic followed by Federer. So I think Andy will make the effort and I’ll pick him to beat Roger.
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