It hasn’t exactly been a rip-roaring start to the 2014 ATP Finals in London. Through two days of round robin play, all four matches have ended in straight sets culminating with today’s identical double breadstick blowouts.
Australian Open champion Stan Wawrinka got off the snide blasting Tomas Berdych 6-1, 6-1. I questioned Berdych’s hunger at the start of the event, and I’ll ask again, does he have any? How the hell does a guy with that kind of talent and power win just two games on a quick, indoor court? No wonder Ivan Lendl turned him down.
After the match Berdych admitted to playing his worst match of the season, which almost naturally comes at the ATP Finals.
“Unfortunately, it was my worst match of the whole season and I kept it for the start here,” said Berdych who has lost five straight to Stan and 8 of his last 9. “Today, I didn’t really feel anything right. I can just keep fighting and try to play good tennis.”
As for Wawrinka, what a great start for the 2013 semifinalist who really needed a quality win like this.
“I didn’t expect to win that easy,” said Wawrinka. “But I was ready to play well. I had a great week of preparation. Even if the result wasn’t there in Basel and Paris, I was feeling the ball really well on the practice court.
“When I feel good on the court, I’m ready to beat everybody. It’s never easy, but you have to fight for it.”
Unfortunately I don’t think he can carry the momentum against Novak Djokovic. Not after the Serb looked awfully good against Marin Cilic in a 6-1, 6-1 destruction to win his 28th straight match indoors, 11th at the ATP Finals.
Unlike Berdych, I give Cilic a bit of a pass. He’s playing the 2-time defending champion and World No. 1, and he’s making his Finals debut against a guy who’s now beaten him in all 11 meetings.
So on Wednesday we’ll get Djokovic against Wawrinka and in battle of two guys who won a combined four games today, Cilic versus Berdych.
“Winning in straight sets helps a lot for the rest of the tournament,” said Djokovic, who is riding a 28-match indoor winning streak. “But I’m going to try to win every match I play.”
Before then, tomorrow should finally see some quality tennis. Roger Federer is on against Kei Nishikori. The two have split four meetings (two this year in Halle and Miami), but indoors on familiar ground I like Federer to win and possibly secure a semifinal spot.
In the late match, I think Andy Murray gets on his game against Milos Raonic. The Canadian actually leads 3-1 including a win in their only meeting since 2012 at Indian Wells this past March.
Given the stakes, Murray’s needs this match more than Raonic so I’ll lean his way. But my guess is it won’t be pretty.
Tennis Channel continues will live coverage starting at 9am ET.
TUESDAY ATP FINALS SCHEDULE
DOUBLES B / 12:00 PM
D NESTOR/N ZIMONJIC VS J BENNETEAU/E ROGER-VASSELIN
SINGLES B / 02:00 PM
FEDERER VS NISHIKORI
DOUBLES B / 06:00 PM
M GRANOLLERS/M LOPEZ VS I DODIG/M MELO
SINGLES B / 08:00 PM
MURRAY VS RAONIC
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