Roger Federer and Andy Murray had little trouble Thursday advancing into the Paris Masters quarterfinals.
Neither of two have ever reached the finals at the tournament, but with both just a win from a semifinal collision, it looks like that could change this weekend.
Federer stomped out Richard Gasquet 6-2, 6-4 for his 799th career match win. Now it’s Juan Monaco in his way for 800.
“Draws are really difficult here and it’s not so simple just to cruise to a final like you think it is,” said Federer. “Just because I’ve done five or eight at other places, it doesn’t mean I have to make a finals here. I hope I can make it this year. I feel like my game is good enough for it. But then, again, depends if Monaco and all the other players agree with that.”
I’m sure Roger remembers, he lost just three games to Monaco at the US Open this year. The Argentine advanced when Mardy Fish retired with a groin strain at early in the third set.
Murray trounced the free-falling Andy Roddick 6-2, 6-2. Against the top foes, Roddick doesn’t seem to have much left anymore and I have to wonder if this will be the last year Roddick finishes in the Top 15.
“If I’m not able to get my serve through the court or drive a ball deep to the corner and get rewarded for it, I’m going to struggle most times against Andy,” said Roddick, who will finish the season outside the Top 10 for the first time since 2001. “I was stuck between two decisions: stay back and play a cat and mouse game, which is tough, or try to force the issue. He’s really good at defending that. So as far as a decision making process went today, it wasn’t always an easy one for me.”
Murray, who’s been the clear-cut hottest player this fall, has now won 27 of his last 28 matches and 17 straight overall.
On Friday, even though he’s lost to Berdych in their last two and Tomas is a past Paris champ, I think he gets through the Czech.
“He’s probably playing the best tennis of his career this year, so it’s gonna be tough,” Murray said of Berdych. “He’s a huge hitter of the ball, big serve, big forehand; goes for his shots and takes your time away. That’s what I have to get myself ready for.”
While it was questionable if Novak Djokovic was even going to play Paris, he did and he’s continuing to win. So credit to the Serb. Djokovic gained a spot in the quarters after beating countryman Viktor Troicki 4-6, 6-3, 6-1. Troicki hardly ever pulls off the upset, and this was the case again.
But for Novak, who has to be feeling some wear and tear on that shoulder, I think his Paris run ends tomorrow against JW Tsonga. JW is a streaky guy, a big match player and he’ll use the crowd and his emotion to knock out the No. 1. At least I think he will!
“Jo is one of the home favourites and one of the crowd favourites,” said Djokovic. “He is a great player, has a very powerful serve, and he kind of performs [with] as much as energy he gets from the crowd.”
Added Tsonga, who leads Novak 5-4 (though lost twice this year), “When I’m on that court, I have nothing to lose against him,” he said. “That way, I’m thinking when I go onto the court against him, he has more to lose than I do. So I always go to try to play my best tennis, and I’m sure it is the reason why every time I play against him I play my best tennis.”
Whatever works for you, JW.
In the last quarter, fourth-seeded David Ferrer meets John Isner. While the indoor environment and hardcourt surface might suit Isner, I give the edge to Ferrer who’s proven to be one of the best returners in the sport and he’s 3-0 against Isner.
As for the London Finals, in what was one of the most anti-climatic fall races the field is now set with Fish, Berdych and Tsonga grabbing the last three spots in the eight man draw.
Tennis Channel will again have live coverage of all the matches.
RESULTS – THURSDAY, 10 NOVEMBER, 2011
FRIDAY PARIS SCHEDULE
CENTRAL COURT start 2:00 pm
 T Berdych (CZE) vs  A Murray (GBR)
Not Before 3:30 PM
J Monaco (ARG) vs  R Federer (SUI)
Not Before 7:30 PM
 N Djokovic (SRB) vs  J Tsonga (FRA)
Not Before 8:30 PM
 D Ferrer (ESP) vs J Isner (USA)
Also Check Out:
ATP Finals Field Set As Tsonga, Tipsarevic Take Final Two Spots
ATP Injuries Mount: Juan Martin Del Potro Withdraws From Paris
Rafael Nadal Withdraws From Paris, London ATP Finals
Marquee Fall Schedules: Where Will Federer, Djokovic And Murray Be Playing
Is Novak Djokovic Ready for a ATP Finals Repeat?