The London ATP Masters Cup World Finals or whatever it’s called these days begins in earnest Sunday morning with two round robin matches. Before I get to them I still have some unfinished business in making an overall tournament selection.
After a few days to digest the groupings and read through the pre-tournament chatter, it’s still a “too close to call” type of event. With such a strong field there just isn’t a clear way to go. That said, Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic are the two best guys right now, there’s little doubt about that. And if this were a conventional indoor event that was not in London I would pick Murray to beat Novak in the final. But it isn’t.
The event is in London of course and based on that fact alone I don’t think Murray can live up to the expectations and the pressure to win it in front of his faithful and against such a tough field. My pick then is…Defending champion Novak Djokovic!
I think Novak wins Group B with Nadal finishing second. In Group A, I’ll go with Murray to emerge on top with Federer second. My outside pick is Nikolay Davydenko.
Djokovic’s been the best player the last month and he’s posted wins over Federer in Switzerland, Gael Monfils in Paris and I think he can replicate a similar feat defeating Murray in front of his fans in London.
I also like Novak’s grouping with Davydenko, Robin Soderling and Nadal which are all matches he could get through in straight sets if he maintains the level he’s been at. A big “if” but he should come through with plenty of energy to spare.
As for tomorrow’s Group A matches, I think Murray should get through Juan Martin Del Potro and I like Federer to oust Fernando Verdasco. Both matches should be tight. Murray has beaten DelPo in four of five meetings including two of three this season. But Murray needed three sets in both victories with the Argy getting over on the Scot on the Madrid clay.
As I’ve said before DelPo really does match up well with Murray’s soft-ball tactics, but I think Murray will rise to the occasion here.
Meanwhile, Federer has been somewhat of an unknown quantity of late. He has just one Top 10 win in the last three months and post-US Open, his best win ranking-wise is No. 51 Andreas Seppi. But, given this is Verdasco’s first Finals and Federer’s superb record in England and at this event, the Swiss should have enough to survive.
On Monday in Group B we’ll see Nadal v. Soderling and Djokovic v. Davydenko.
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