Despite a grim conclusion to his semifinal loss at Basel, Novak Djokovic and his ailing shoulder are on the official schedule for the Paris Masters Wednesday. If nothing else, at least he’ll sell a few more tickets to what looked to be a rather empty stadium at times on the TV this afternoon.
Fans who did go saw big serving Americans Andy Roddick and John Isner put up good wins. Roddick beat Frenchman and fellow 29-year-old Juliean Benneteau 6-4, 6-4. Isner won another third set breaker beating Stan Wawrinka.
London chasers JW Tsonga and Tomas Berdych were also winners, and one more victory will put them both into the year-end Masters.
“Bercy is a very important tournament for me. Masters or not, I want to play well here,” said Tsonga after a win over Guillermo Garcia-Lopez. “I know that surface the suits me, and I’m able to have a good result here. The goal for me is really Bercy, this Masters. [London is] the cherry on the cake for me. In the beginning of the season, nobody thought I would go for it apart from myself maybe, and so the Masters is just the cherry of the cake. I’m concentrating on this tournament.”
In other results, Feliciano Lopez ousted Michael Llodra, Sergei Stakhovsky beat Basel finalist Kei Nishikori and Juan Monaco stopped qualifier Donald Young.
As for tomorrow, if Djokovic is healthy he’ll play a tricky one against the only man to take a set off him at the Australian Open, Ivan Dodig. I’ve been a big fan of the Croat and indoors should suit Dodig well, especially if Novak is unable to serve at full strength.
Personally, I don’t think Novak should not be out there. I know there’s a commitment and a very large monetary incentive to play – a whopping $1.6 million – but there’s far too much on the line to risk playing this week.
Basel champ Roger Federer meets Mannarino, Andy Murray in on against Jeremy Chardy and David Ferrer faces qualifier Nicolas Mahut.
“For me not to make the finals here with all the success [I’ve had] is almost a bit disappointing, to be quite honest,” said Federer. “Until maybe two, three years ago I didn’t feel quite comfortable on the centre court.
“I’m obviously excited for hopefully a tough week ahead here, because obviously I want to do well here,” Federer added. “I’ve got to play five matches in a row, which is a lot in five days, but I have done it many times before.”
If Federer wins he’ll play Richard Gasquet Thursday, Murray will get Roddick.
Also, Gael Monfils clashes with Feliciano Lopez in what could be the match of the day. And Gilles Simon closes out a very French-themed center court day against Monaco.
That said, I think the French motif continues throughout the week. So my picks for the semifinals are Tsonga v. Monfils, Federer v. Murray and I think Murray beats Tsonga in the finale.
Tennis Channel has live coverage all day from Paris which is the last tournament of the ATP season.
WEDNESDAY PARIS SCHEDULE
CENTRAL COURT start 10:30 am
 D Ferrer (ESP) vs [Q] N Mahut (FRA)
[WC] J Chardy (FRA) vs  A Murray (GBR)
 N Djokovic (SRB) vs I Dodig (CRO)
Not Before 4:00 PM
[WC] A Mannarino (FRA) vs  R Federer (SUI)
Not Before 7:30 PM
F Lopez (ESP) vs  G Monfils (FRA)
Not Before 8:30 PM
J Monaco (ARG) vs  G Simon (FRA)
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