Federer, Nadal Top Seeds as ATP Regular Season Closes in Paris

by Sean Randall | November 8th, 2009, 12:08 am

If I’m not mistaken we have just one more week left in the ATP regular season. Finally! And what a way to finish with the Paris Indoors Masters which features 15 of the Top 16 players competing – the lone absentee being American Andy Roddick who’s still rehabbing a knee injury. ADHEREL

What makes this event so interesting is that for 20% or so of the field this will be their last event of 2009. So hopefully the guys not heading to London will give their best effort in making their final stand, though I’m sure a few have simply had enough and are more interested in picking up a first round paycheck of 8,000 euros as they start their off season.

Roger Federer is of course the top seed with Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray and Juan Martin Del Potro in chase. The top five along with Roddick have already secured berths in the London finals. That leaves two spots left which should be determined by this time next week.

No. 7 Nikolay Davydenko figures to get in but No. 8 Fernando Verdasco will have to keep an eye in the rearview mirror on Robin Soderling, Fernando Gonzales and Jo Tsonga who are all hot on the Spaniard’s heels. And the draw did no favors for Fernando.

There’s also the No. 1 race to consider. Should Federer win tomorrow in Basel the Swiss will pad his lead over Nadal to 1,500 points meaning Rafa will likely have to win Paris or London to finish at the top for a second straight year. Eyeballing the math, should Federer win out in Paris he’ll clinch the No. 1 ranking regardless of Nadal’s result.

As for the aforementioned draw, in Federer’s section the World No. 1 will likely play French fav and my man, Gael Monfils, in the third round followed by Verdasco in the quarterfinals with Fernando’s London berth in the balance.

The second quarter is a real toss up because it’s so hard gauge how motivated the guys are this time of year. That said, I almost like Radek Stepanek to emerge past Murray who may be content after Valencia to take it easy and rest up for London. And I’m not sure where DelPo’s head is at so the indoors should suit the Czech just fine.

Worth noting, in his first match DelPo is likely to meet Marat Safin. This is Safin’s final tournament of his career so each match could be his very last, a fact I’m sure that will weigh on the mind of his opponents. Safin opens with a qualifier in the first round and I think he’ll beat DelPo should they meet.

In the third quadrant I think I’ll pick Soderling to get to the semifinals, beating Davydenko and then Djokovic along the way. Robin needs a strong result next week more than anyone else in that section.

And in the final quarter I think defending Jo Tsonga will ride the home crowd past fellow Frenchman Gilles Simon and then Rafa Nadal in the quarterfinals. However, Tsonga did just retire earlier this week with a left wrist injury so his health is a bit of a question mark. But if he’s okay I think he’ll get through.

As for a prediction on the final, hard to say because I think it’s going to be a crapshoot – just look at the history of finals! My guess is we won’t see an all Top five final as the top guys will be preserving their body with an eye toward London. But that shouldn’t mean we can’t get a French Open duplicate result, should it? We are in Paris after all.

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42 Comments for Federer, Nadal Top Seeds as ATP Regular Season Closes in Paris

madmax Says:

Sean, to start off the conversation here, you say the following:

‘This is Safin’s final tournament of his career so each match could be his very last, a fact I’m sure that will weigh on the mind of his opponents. Safin opens with a qualifier in the first round and I think he’ll beat DelPo should they meet’.

Now, I have always loved Safin, not only because of his tennis, but because of his passionate responses to losing points, his smashing of racquets, his talking to himself on court, (this, to me, seems to add to his game) – Most commentators seems to have written safin off, he came close to winning a tournament a couple of weeks ago, and I feel he never quite believes in himself during the latter part of any tournament, so I am interested as to why you think he is going to beat delpo? Safin has always been gifted and talented, but I believe it is his mental strength that lets him down. Delpo has been injured recently, and whilst I know Delpo beat fed at USO, and he is a talented player, are you saying 1) that it is as a result of delpo not being 100%, which will be the reason why safin beats him? or 2)that safin will have a final surge and ‘del-pol’-verise(!) him?

been there Says:

Looking at the draws, time for my fortune teller clear crystal balls :)

section 1: Federer has a good record against all players in his quarter, but as has been shown this yr, the H2H are only indicative…and for me, once a player is in the top50, an upset is always possible. So Federer making it to & past quarters may depend on which type of Wawrinka, Cilic or Verdasco turns up. Who knows, Monfils might just surprise me should they meet in the 3rd rnd. hehe…am allowed to dream, no? Quite a tough draw at 1st glance….should Fed make it to semis, then I think he’d have had enough practise to adjust that misfiring forehand due to ‘quality’ opponents.

Section 2: A JMDP vs Murray qtr final looks enticing. However, one way or the other, I expect Murray to reach the semis. I may dislike his game & possibly him due to on-court mannerisms, but I can’t deny that his game produces solid results…& that’s all that really matters. He’s the ‘king’ of 3-setters in ’09, so I won’t be too surprised if he lifts the trophy. Hopefully JMDP is well healed.

Section 3: Haas’s shadow seems to be following Djokovic this year. hehe. Should they meet in 3rd rnd, it will depend on whether Haas has overcome his swine-flu & a myriad of injuries here, there & everywhere else…you name it, Haas’s got it. Quite a heavy draw with Soderling & Davydenko also present. My crystal ball has refused to show me who’ll emerge victorious to semis…so it’s anyone’s draw…but Djokovic probably the favoured one just due to his high ranking.

Section 4: Nadal should cruise to the qtr-finals on auto-pilot for the simple reason that Almagro & Robredo do not pose a threat…won’t even manage a tie-break, let alone steal a set from him. lol. Meanwhile, Tsonga & Simon meet in rnd3, tey’lll batter each other, meaning whoever meets Nadal should be tired…giving Nadal a clear sailing to the semis.

>> Not sure I’ve predicted anything, lol…I’ve tried though…little steps in such early predictions. I usually wait till semis to make my ‘bold’ predictins.

Kimmi Says:

Davydenko and verdasco are almost lock for London. Verdasco semi showing in valencia help his chance next week. The other contenders need to either reach the final or win Paris.Soderling and Tsonga are coming back from injury and Gonzalez has not impress so far. Stepanek- sean..you think stepanek will suprise everyone in paris, I doubt that but we will see. And Cilic..he has been losing to people he should not, who is he going to lose to this time..Its going to be difficult for these guys

margot Says:

If Tsonga is fit he will trample all over Simon and seriously trouble Rafa. However, it’s a big if and he’s SO inconsistent. I’m such a big fan of his game but so many times he doesn’t deliver.

i am it Says:

The draw and how it is shaping up:
1st Half
1st quarter: in the 1st Rd, Fed meets Benneteau/Petzschner; in the 2nd, Wawa or Monfils; in the quarter, Cilic or Verdasco or Seppi (Kohls has already lost); in the semi, possibly Murray

2nd Quarter: in the 1st Rd, Murray meets Blake/Santoro; in the 2nd Rd, Step/Troicki, who defeated PHM today; in the quarter, DelPo/Safin/Gonzu/ or Isner.

2nd Half
3rd Quarter: Djoko meets Chardy/Monaco in the 1st (a tough one); Fe-Lo/Haas in the 2nd; and Davydenko/Soderling in the quarter; possibly Rafa in the semi.

4th Quarter: Rafa meets Almagro/C-Nelli in the 1st Rd; Berdych/Robredo in the 2nd; Tsonga/Simon/Ljub in the quarter.

Quarter finals possibilities:

1st—Fed vs. Cilic; OR Wawa/Monfils vs. Verdasco/ Cilic

2nd—Murray vs. DelPo; OR Step vs. Gonzu/DelPo

3rd—Djoko vs. Soderling; OR Davydenko vs. Djoko/Fe-Lo

4th—Rafa vs. Tsonga; OR Simon/Ljub vs. Berdych/ Rafa

been there Says:

margot says:
“However, it’s a big if and he’s SO inconsistent.”…re: Tsonga

Tell me about it! In my eyes he’s got as many shots in his armour almost equal to Fed…then add the OTT french flair. :)….yet he’s throws teenage girl sized tantrums when he’s losing…& gives up so easily. For his skill-level, it’s a shame he doesn’t have a slam or even more masters titles.

Hopefully he’s fit. The whole French team needs psychiatrists at the end of each set just to keep their heads together. Really, it’s so oddity that they’re all so wonderfully talented yet so mentally frail.

i am it Says:

Correction plus addition:

Blake beat Santoro yesterday.

Dr. Ivo is through to the 2nd Rd and will play Soderling, against whom Ivo leads 2-1 h2h (last time Ivo beat him at ’08 Madrid), so Sean’s prediction….? we will keep our eye on this.

Falla has taken the 1st set, so Isner could be saying goodbye in the 1st round.

margot Says:

been there: agree, agree! When he was defeated by Dr Karlo ….OMG what a performance of completely the wrong kind – rolling eyes, looking at the sky etc etc. As my daughter says “why are the French so French?”

i am it Says:

Isner beat Falla at the end.
Ivo and Isner can do some damage. that’s scary.

Safin also won and will get a taste of the Champion of the New Generation in my fav DelPo.

contador Says:

wonder how gonzo is feeling? i imagine he was so over isner last week in basel losing to him. it’s cruel. a guy could injure his self returning that 140 mph serve for 2 hours….ask gasquet.

i’m serious. appears like a good way to get hurt, going up against dr. ivo or isner too often.

he had a tough time getting past falla though. we’ll see.

i am it Says:

Safin on his next match, his first ever date with del Potro could be the last match of his career.

“The way he’s playing right now, I don’t think I have a chance,” confessed Safin. “But I’m going to try. Why not? If I’m going to serve well and he’s not going to be at his best, I have a chance. At the end of the day, I don’t think I’m going to be the winner. I’m going to make a decent match, that’s for sure.”

And DelPo says he wants to win the Paris and end the year at London with a high note. Not expecting much from him this year, but i am gonna have to be putting pressure on him from Jan ’10. he should be fully ready for the AO.

Kimmi Says:

Why is roddick still not playing ? Didn’t he send a report about his injured knee just few days after he injured himself that the tests came back and that the injury is not too serious, he will be back soon..

has things change to worse now ?

was it you jane, or somebody else who said he might pull out of london ? Will be a shame !

i am it Says:

Kimmi, last time i checked, Roddick had resumed practice, but the London tournament director was saying he had not received confirmation from Roddick about his participation, thus the doubt. but from this year there is a penalty: if you fail to participate after qualification, you’ll be automatically disqualified next year. i don’t know if there is a provision for waiver. so, even if he is not fully recovered in due time, Roddick may be forced to participate in at least one RR, like he did last year, and let the 9th player resume.

Kimmi Says:

I am it, tough penalties these days. And YEC is a good tourney, everybody wants to play there, a lot of money for grabs.

I want to see Djokovic playing Roddick again, I think it might be a toss up this time..Djoko seem to have found his game.

talking about pelnaties..have you seen fereder 2010 schedule? Looks like he does not care much about the zero points pelnaties. He is playing three 250 series (doha, estoril and Halle) and only two 500 series (dubai and basel). Why he is doing it this way it does not make sense, maybe he is hoping to grab most of his points in GS..good luck to him.

Kimmi Says:

Too many typo on above post

margot Says:

kimmi: how interesting about Federer. He always has been able to get it together for slams though and if his energy levels are dropping off, it makes sense doesn’t it? Why should he bother in “lesser” events. He has nothing to prove.

Voicemale1 Says:


Federer still has to play all of the ATP 1000 Events next year, and in the first part of the year he’s got plenty of room to add points. He didn’t reach a Final in Indian Wells, Miami, Monte Carlo, or Rome. So he might have been thinking he could pick points there instead of playing 500 level events.

i am it Says:

First round opponents have been decided for the Top 4 seeds.

1st quarter: in the 1st Rd, Fed meets Benneteau; in the 2nd, D. Guez (d. Wawa) or Monfils; in the quarter, Cilic or Verdasco (Kohls and Seppi’ve lost).

2nd Quarter: in the 1st Rd, Murray meets Blake; in the 2nd Rd, Step or Troicki (d. PHM); in the quarter, DelPo/ Safin/ Gonzu/ or Isner.

3rd Quarter: in the 1st Rd., Djoko meets Monaco (d. Chardy); Clement (d. Fe-Lo) or Haas in the 2nd; and Davydenko or Soderling in the quarter;

4th Quarter: in the 1st Rd, Rafa meets Almagro (d. C-Nelli); in the 2nd, Berdych or Robredo; and in the quarter, Tsonga or Ljubicic (who will likely defeat Simon later today) .

sensationalsafin Says:

Djokovic should have an easy time with Monaco. He won 2 tight sets over Chardy and now he’s out playing doubles with Rafa. First set has been close so if it stays close or goes to 3, Monaco has got to be pretty tired.

sar Says:

Nadal/Monaco out of doubles 3 setter. Kohli team next against Nestor &co. Come on Daniel.

i am it Says:

unlucky Ljub, his dream to get inside top 20 this year got shattered.
Simon finally broke his losing streak to Ljub, in a battle of slice and patience. Good for him !

sar Says:

Fanboy Koenig seems to think Monaco will give Djokovic a hard time.

Duro Says:

Hi, Sar. Monaco will certainly do that.
i am it, check your inbox.
Good night, all.

i am it Says:

All top 5 seeds are scheduled for tomorrow,

5:00 am (ET)….Dj-Monaco and Ivo-Soderling
7:00 am …….DelPo-Safin and Haas-Clement
9:00 am …….Rafa-Almagro and Gonzu-Isner
11:00 am……..Guez-Monfils and Robredo-Berdych
1:30 pm ……..Fed-Benneteau and Cilic-Kubot
3:00 pm………Murray-Blake and Step-Troicki

Quarter finals prediction Update:

Fed vs. Cilic; OR Fed/Monfils vs. Verdasco

Murray vs. DelPo; OR Murray/ Step vs. Gonzu/ DelPo

Djoko vs. Soderling; OR Djoko/ Haas vs. Davydenko

Rafa vs. Tsonga; OR Berdych/ Rafa vs. Simon

jane Says:

i am it, thanks for posting the times of the matches tomorrow; hopefully, I can watch a few as we have a Remembrance Day holiday in Canada tomorrow (veteran’s day essentially). I can mark and watch tennis. Yippee. Hope my favorites win.

i am it Says:

no prob, dear.
hope all your favs win, including DelPo.
or, is it like Blake is playing one of his last matches of his career, so you kinda hope he wins? just messing with you:)

i am it Says:

and, j., here is some tidbit on Safin’s achievement at the Bercy (from ATP):
The three-time champion, who leads all players in the draw in wins in Paris with a 24-4 record here, fired 24 aces and saved three match points in the first round against French qualifier Thierry Ascione for a 64 46 76(3) triumph
• The 29-year-old Russian captured singles titles in 2000 (d. Philippoussis), 2002 (d. Hewitt) and 2004 (d. Stepanek) [3 titles at Bercy alone? Insane!].
• He made his debut in 1999 and lost to No. 1 Andre Agassi in the final in four sets
• The only time he lost in the first round was last year to Argentine Juan Monaco

sensationalsafin Says:

That’s how you know you’ve been playing too long, when you start having inexplicable losses at places where you’ve had a lot of success. Federer should retire as soon as he loses in the first round of a slam (since he’s had a lot of success at all 4, then any slam will do).

Kimmi Says:

Voicemale1: “Federer still has to play all of the ATP 1000 Events next year, and in the first part of the year he’s got plenty of room to add points. He didn’t reach a Final in Indian Wells, Miami, Monte Carlo, or Rome. So he might have been thinking he could pick points there instead of playing 500 level events.”

Source showing his 2010 schedule.


Monte carlo is not in his list Voicemale1, he is playing Estoril instead. Only two best 250s are counted towards ranking, why add a third 250 (which might not be counted) and take away Monte carlo 1000 ? I agree that he will get some more points in other 1000 series and GS.. The cutting down of 500s make sense, as Margot mentioned above..he is getting older and wants to manage his schedule better. I am sure he is got everything figured out. Like this year, depending on how things go, he might not play each one of these or maybe ask for last minute WC for other 500 series if need be.

Kimmi Says:

Very proud of verdasco to win a hard fought match against seppi..eliminating Cilic and Stepanek on the way. Great effort verdasco. Apparently davy needs to win his next match to qualify..I say it won’t be easy playing soderling, does not have a good record against the sod.

I think Gonzo will win against Isner tomorrow, he will be ready this time..Revenge !!

Kimmi Says:

Jane, we don’t have that holiday in Ontario…you lucky. Enjoy the tennis.

jane Says:

Kimmi, of course you do! Remembrance Day is a statutory holiday across all of Canada. I’ve lived in a number of different provinces throughout my life and they’ve all had Remembrance Day. Maybe you’d better talk to your boss! :-)

See this list:


jane Says:

Kimmi, oops – you’re right. In Ontario it is classified as an “optional holiday”. Too bad. :-o

contador Says:

sensationalsafin: have to appreciate the body of work you did on breaking down federer’s match record and yet, i don’t get you at all. you say you are a federer fan but your word choice is very dour, negative, continually forecasting your federer fears. you don’t know federer, what he was thinking, feeling, experiencing in those matches.

what we do know is what is on record. he said he had mono and he has had, since 2003 on record, back problems. injuries are common. but people have a double-standard here, are in denial, or seem to feel the need to hold federer to a completely unrealistic standard. sampras, nadal, you name it, practically everyone else can state their injuries and not get such criticism.

federer is human. some of those losses he just plain dropped the ball, had the bad day at the office, sometimes he is not at 100% fitness but chooses to play. none of what i am saying is to make an excuse. it’s normal. and sure, he’s not at his peak anymore. he will figure out what is best to do. you can wish he’d retire or worry over embarrassing moments, make grim federer forecasts but imo, it’s useless to ‘fear’ this and criticise that.

try looking on the bright side and appreciating the ride. it’s not gonna be smooth for a federer fan.

i’m considering asking mr. Duro if i can join his bandwagon. not abandoning federer but i do appreciate nole’s playing style and he’s on his way up. i think he’ll win a slam in 2010.

time to admire federer. he has been enormously generous to his fans. no sense in picking him apart. sheesh…even in ‘bad’ years: he wins two slams in 2009, he won one in 2008. he continues to win or he may not and sometimes he wins ugly. so what. i’m not discounting the effort you put forth and perhaps this is just your style, only suggesting; give the super champion a break. that’s all.

Kimmi Says:

jane, I don’t know but I have another link, this show as optional. Look at the 9th row, its been taken out.


Kimmi Says:

OK jane..I was late to read your post. yes its optinal and almost everyone here is opting not to have it.

jane Says:

Bummer Kimmi. I lived in Toronto in the late 80s/early 90s and I can’t remember if we had it back then, but I guess I just assumed so. It looks like TSN has allowed a whopping 3 hours for coverage tomorrow, so I’ll get to watch some on the TV rather than streaming, which will be a nice change.

Kimmi Says:

TSN Live ? Great. If you are lucky, you can get 2 matches. Enjoy. You just reminded me to record TSN when they show these matches.

jane Says:

That’s exactly what I was thinking Kimmi; you might want to set your timer! Tomorrow should produce some good matches. Cheers.

sensationalsafin Says:

Contador, I don’t follow. 1) I simply don’t enjoy, as a fan of tennis, seeing crappy final sets. 2) Until it actually happens, I don’t see Federer losing before the finals at a slam. He hasn’t done it in the last 7 slams. The semis don’t even concern me. Federer’s slips are incredibly slow. First he’s winning all the slams, then he’s losing a couple close finals, now he’s running out of steam in the last possible set that can be played in the entire tourny. But this is still tennis, so his pattern could easily be disrupted and a worse pattern could emerge. Who knows?

I also don’t know where this injury stuff is coming from. Players are never 100% no matter what. There’s always something bugging them. Sometimes it’s big, sometimes it’s small. I like to analyze matches the way they are played, not the way they could be played or should be played. In other words, I don’t look through the injury glasses. I see 2 players trying what I like to believe is their best on the given day. If they happen to be injured then that’s just life. Djokovic has always had breathing problems, if he loses, I’m not gonna say it was his breathing, I’m gonna say it was his forehand or backhand or serve or volleys, etc.

I’m a Federer fan but I’m also realistic and I’m also bored with him. I’ll always enjoy his best stuff and I’m still gonna root for him, but I’m ok with the new crop taking over. It looks like a lot of Federer fans might lose interest in tennis when the guy retires. That’s not right. Federer has done an incredible amount for tennis and that can never be taken away. He’s not gonna lose his 15 slams, he can only gain more. But I also don’t wanna see Federer losing a bunch of slam finals. He’s 15-6 lifetime. Would you want it to end up 17-12? That’s a pretty poor percentage.

madmax Says:

I am thinking to myself, that fed is not equating the passion with the masters this year. He gearing up for a slam comp. else otherwise, why would he lose in a first round today? He needs to get a grip, get his act together and just go on out there and bloody win! Ugh! Yes, I hear you say to me, this is on the cards, one day, one day, but I cannot bear to see this happening right now. So what does he do now? go to dubai and train? for the next 4 weeks? take time out before the YEC in London? rest, play games with children? He is the the mighty fed, and i dont like this feeling people. Those of you who are old enough perhaps to remember your ‘first’ champion, and then having to come to terms with letting them go- how did you do it? How can you survive? I cannot turn my back on federer. It feels alien to me. I will never do that – I still feel he can win at least 3 more slams – make it to even 20 – and then retire at the olympics – but i just dont understand why it is that he hasnt won bercy,this was his opportunity and he ‘gave up’? in final set?

It makes no sense to me. Other federer fans out there, I need some sense of thought. Jane? you are the voice of reason, and the (nicely), mature person here, help! Federer needs guidance! as well as a federer fan!

madmax Says:

I meant to say 2 weeks before YEC! Am losing it already!

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