More things change the more they stay the same. Through two days of the 2015 ATP Finals, guess who the winners are? The Big 4! That’s right, we are still living in 2010 as Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray joined their Big 4 brethren Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer not only as winners this week, but straight set winners.
Murray stepped up his game after going down an early break in the second and re-focused to beat David Ferrer 6-4, 6-4.
“It was a little bit off for a couple of games in my first match on Monday and my returning could have been better,” Murray said. “But to beat a guy like David Ferrer in straight sets is always encouraging and physically I felt good, so I’m happy about that.”
What I liked today was Murray appears to be playing this week to win, not just to tune himself up for Davis Cup.
Later, Nadal dropped his opening service game before crushing past what Jim Courier called a tanking Stan Wawrinka 6-3, 6-2.
“I think I played a solid match,” said Nadal who improves to 5-11 vs Top 10 players this year. “I had one bad game, the first one of the match. But then immediately I was playing well. I played the way that I wanted to play. I played aggressive. I played with not many mistakes.”
Nice to see Nadal get a big win like that, but the story was the lack of anything really from Wawrinka who all but admitted afterwards he just wasn’t into it.
“When something went wrong today, everything went wrong,” said Wawrinka. “It was just a really bad day at the office.”
Nadal will face Murray on Wednesday. If Murray wins he’ll also clinch the year-end No. 2 ranking for the first time in his career.
Stan will have to regroup and face Ferrer. “That’s why it’s interesting here,” Wawrinka said. “You can lose the first match and still qualify. I will have to play some better tennis. I will have to be back on my top form for the next one against David Ferrer.”
Tomorrow, someone in the Big 4 will finally lose when the marquee round robin match between Djokovic and Federer is scheduled.
The two tournament favorites have split 42 career meetings but lately Djokovic’s had the edge, and he won recently at the US Open on a court more suited to Federer. Roger will have to go into hyper-aggressive mode and serve incredibly well, but the court once again appears slow like Paris, so advantage Novak.
“I think it’s a really good court for me personally. I think it’s a really good court for Novak, too,” elaborated Federer on Sunday. “Seems like whoever takes charge of the baseline, and if you cannot serve your way out of trouble often enough, which is hard to do here because of the pace of the court, the guy from the baseline wins, the better one.”
And that’s Novak. And in this pre-cursor to the final I think it will be in straight sets. He’s simply better than Roger from the baseline.
Another subplot is the loser of the match may have to win on Thursday. For Federer, it’s much easier with Nishikori while Djokovic will have to duel the dangerous Berdych. So as far as getting out of the group, maybe it’s a little more important for Djokovic to win.
In the early 9am ET match, I’ll take Tomas Berdych to beat Kei Nishikori also in two. Indoors, Tomas should have his way with Kei who’s been struggling of late.
TUESDAY ATP FINALS SCHEDULE
CENTRE COURT STARTS AT 12:00 NOON
(4) Jamie Murray/John Peers VS (8) Rohan Bopanna/Florin Mergea
NOT BEFORE 2:00 PM
(6) Tomas Berdych VS (8) Kei Nishikori
(1) Bob Bryan/Mike Bryan VS (5) Simone Bolelli/Fabio Fognini
NOT BEFORE 8:00 PM
(1) Novak Djokovic VS (3) Roger Federer
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