The round-robin groupings for the 2010 ATP Masters Finals in London were drawn today.
Group A: Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Tomas Berdych, Andy Roddick.
Group B: Roger Federer, Robin Soderling, Andy Murray, David Ferrer.
The ATP also released an initial schedule for the finals which begin Sunday with Soderling v. Murray from A and Federer v. Ferrer from B. On Monday it’s Djokovic v. Berdych, Nadal v. Roddick.
Some initial thoughts.
First, the field is loaded with six of the eight playing in a Slam final this year, but on balance I think the B group is much tougher when you consider Murray and Soderling have won the last two Masters events – Shanghai and Paris, respectively – and both guys have beaten (and lost!) to favorite Federer in big-time matches this year.
Group B does have the “pigeon” if you will in Ferrer who could very well go winless. However, the Spaniard works hard and has been known to surprise – he’s done well in the year-ender before – but against three guys with the indoor prowess of Federer, Murray and Soderling it’s hard to see the David getting through.
Based on the groupings if there’s one guy I’d eliminate from the get-go it’s Ferrer. I’ll probably eat my words on that one, but sorry!
In Group A I make Djokovic my favorite. Nadal hasn’t shown me enough this fall while the Serb’s been very consistent, very strong and in form. And with the spotlight on Federer, Nadal, Murray and maybe Roddick’s ill-advised ‘stache, he’ll again be the “under the radar” guy. Both Berdych, who’s been absolutely AWOL since Wimbledon, and Roddick are extremely dangerous especially indoors and if they get on a hot streak either guy could run the table.
In addition Berdych should match up well with Nadal indoors and Roddick’s been a thorn to Djokovic. So really, while Djokovic and Nadal are the class, any of the four could emerge into the semifinals. That said, you could make the case that Group A is tougher based on overall depth.
As for some early picks. I’m confident that Federer and Novak will get to the other semifinals. Roger owns Ferrer and Soderling and faced with the London pressure Murray could struggle against the Swiss. And as I said, Novak’s been playing some great tennis this fall.
Joining Djokovic from B I’ll lean toward Nadal. He went winless last year and I think he’s out to prove he’s better than that, which he is. In the A group I’m leaning with Soderling. I think the Swede gets that big Sunday win over Murray, then beats Ferrer to get through. Again, Murray doesn’t do well in extreme pressure situations – Slams finals, Wimbledon, London last year, etc – and this is another one of them. Soderling and Federer are both tough for Andy and Ferrer might get enough balls back to create some problems for Andy.
So for now I got Federer, Soderling, Djokovic and Nadal in the semifinals with an early eye toward Federer beating Djokovic in the finale.
I’ll go into more details later in the week.
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