Race to London - Basel, Vienna, Paris

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Race to London - Basel, Vienna, Paris

Post by Born Slippy on Thu 27 Oct 2016, 10:28 am

First topic message reminder :

Thread for the final few tournaments of the year. Main intrigue is around 9th place in the race (which will be a WTF qualifying position given Rafa's absence). Current live "race" points are as follows:

8. Thiem - 3215 points
9. Cilic - 3100 points
10. Berdych - 2890 points
11. Goffin - 2700 points
12. Kyrgios - 2460 points
13. Tsonga - 2380 points
14. Bautista-Agut - 2350 points

So with only one tournament to go, Thiem and Cilic control the last two spots and look fairly set. RBA and Tsonga need the title to have any shot but that probably would be enough bar some freak results. Goffin needs to make the final and that will be good enough unless Berdych wins the title (and would still be good enough if Thiem failed to make R16). Berdych can get there with a SF but only if Cilic doesn't make the QF or Thiem doesn't make R16.


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Re: Race to London - Basel, Vienna, Paris

Post by CaledonianCraig on Mon 31 Oct 2016, 7:50 am

For Jermaine and hawkeye benefit Nore Staat could you slip in Novak saying if Murray gets to No 1 it will be totally deserved as Murray's last four months has been incredible.
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Re: Race to London - Basel, Vienna, Paris

Post by sirfredperry on Mon 31 Oct 2016, 9:29 am

Bit bizarre. ATP website today talks about what Djoko has to do to be year-end number one without mentioning the huge number of points he has to defend at the 02. Do they not realise there's the year-end championship still to come?
  I know Andy has some DC points to come off, but the year-end number one cannot be decided this week, can it?


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Re: Race to London - Basel, Vienna, Paris

Post by Born Slippy on Mon 31 Oct 2016, 9:47 am

Yeah, it could be decided this week. Novak needs to get over 1,500 points clear:

Current race lead: 415 points
Murray's DC points (come off end Nov): 275 points
Difference between win and QF in Paris: (1000-180) 820 points
Total Difference: 1,510 points

So, if Novak wins Paris and Andy loses in the QF or earlier then YE1 is wrapped up.

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Re: Race to London - Basel, Vienna, Paris

Post by sirfredperry on Mon 31 Oct 2016, 10:17 am

BS - Ta for that. Amazing, in some ways, that number one is still up for grabs, considering how far ahead Djoko was at one point.
It's taken a big dip in Djoko's points-gathering plus Andy getting pretty much max points of late to get us to this situation. The good news for Murray is that there may still be opportunities in the first half of 2017 to get to numero uno. After the French it gets a lot harder.

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Re: Race to London - Basel, Vienna, Paris

Post by Guest82 on Mon 31 Oct 2016, 1:35 pm

I think Murray might run out of steam this week. Although it is amazing what confidence does for a player. We have seen it with Djokovic last season and 2011 and now with Murray - just don't seem capable of losing.

Unless Djokovic clears up from here through to Wimbledon next year (again) then I expect Murray will get no 1 at some point before then. Not always been his biggest fan, but I have warmed to him a lot in recent years and think he deserves it on his CV.

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Re: Race to London - Basel, Vienna, Paris

Post by Born Slippy on Mon 31 Oct 2016, 2:29 pm

Yeah, I think Murray was already running on empty in Vienna. I'd expect Paris to be slightly quicker and therefore suit him slightly better but there are still a number of decent players in his way. Reaching the final would be very impressive and would keep him within range.

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Re: Race to London - Basel, Vienna, Paris

Post by Guest on Mon 31 Oct 2016, 6:56 pm

lags72 wrote:I see two potential scenarios in Paris - either of which (or indeed both of which ??) could be of material significance wrt ranking points :

- Murray gradually runs out of steam after a couple of rounds

- Djokovic finds it difficult to hit good form after his lengthy lay-off
Murray sometimes has difficulty the first time he runs across a player in good form at a tournament he has yet to fully acclimatise to (the pace, the bounce, the conditions of the court & arena). After that he normally plays to a good level.

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Re: Race to London - Basel, Vienna, Paris

Post by MrInvisible on Mon 31 Oct 2016, 10:38 pm

On a slight tangent, is anyone on here going to the ATP tour finals in London this year? I've just bought tickets today, and crossing my fingers on who I get to see play. Would be v happy to watch Murray, Wawrinka or Thiem, fairly happy to see Djokovic, Monfils or Nishikori, but would rather miss Raonic or Cilic.

Doubles line-up looks pretty good this year.

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Re: Race to London - Basel, Vienna, Paris

Post by Mad for Chelsea on Tue 01 Nov 2016, 1:43 pm

Sousa levels up at one set all against Berdych. Berdych really has been in pretty dreadful form of late...

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Re: Race to London - Basel, Vienna, Paris

Post by Born Slippy on Wed 02 Nov 2016, 2:13 pm

Good win for Pouille - avenging last weeks defeat to Lopez. Murray or Verdasco up next for him.

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Re: Race to London - Basel, Vienna, Paris

Post by Guest82 on Wed 02 Nov 2016, 3:02 pm

Thiem lost in straight sets to Sock. Would expect him to still qualify for London, but he's not likely to win a match there. I like his game so hope to see him there.

Murray seemingly owns Pouille, their matches always end up very straightforward for Murray.

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Re: Race to London - Basel, Vienna, Paris

Post by Mad for Chelsea on Wed 02 Nov 2016, 9:20 pm

That match perhaps a microcosm of Verdasco's career. Sluggisih start, plays some super stuff through the middle, saves BPs brilliantly for most of the last set, forces BPs of his own, misses a couple of make-able BHs (not easy, but ones he was making for the previous hour and a bit), collapses. Even on that MP, he had an easy put-away FH volley but for some reason didn't stick it, allowed Murray back into the point, and Murray needed no second invitation.

Scratchy win, but I think Murray did pretty well to hang in there really given some of Verdasco's play. The winning streak continues, with Pouille up next.

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Re: Race to London - Basel, Vienna, Paris

Post by Born Slippy on Wed 02 Nov 2016, 11:54 pm

Struff takes out Wawrinka in a final set tiebreak. A well-deserved win, with some exceptional tennis. Good match to watch.

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Re: Race to London - Basel, Vienna, Paris

Post by sirfredperry on Thu 03 Nov 2016, 11:40 am

Just seen some highlights of the Murray match and (Can You Hear The Drums) Fernando was playing some great stuff. Just couldn't quite get over the line, though, as Murray once again managed to find a way to win.
 Stan the Man seems very up and down at the moment, as has been remarked upon by others.


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Re: Race to London - Basel, Vienna, Paris

Post by Mad for Chelsea on Thu 03 Nov 2016, 12:15 pm

Cilic eventually takes out Goffin, on about his 6th MP in the second set TB having missed a sitter of a volley on the first. He'd have felt rather silly had he then lost the TB Very Happy. This means Goffin is now relying on injuries to make the WTF, while Cilic just has to match Berdych's result to cement his spot.

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Re: Race to London - Basel, Vienna, Paris

Post by Guest82 on Thu 03 Nov 2016, 12:59 pm

I watched nearly all of the Murray-Verdasco match. I think there are signs of tiredness there for Murray. I expect he will beat Pouille but may not make the final. If he does and plays Djokovic it might be interesting...form v freshness.

Whenever Murray plays badly, because of his excellent defence, it tends to make the other player look like they are playing brilliantly. Don't get me wrong Verdasco played well, but I think Murray left a few short balls and his defensive skills make Verdasco play more aggressive shots than anyone else would. Nadal is similar, when he plays badly he drops a lot of balls short and also retrieves a lot - you tend to think the opponent has played the match of their lives - but often they haven't.

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Re: Race to London - Basel, Vienna, Paris

Post by dummy_half on Thu 03 Nov 2016, 3:08 pm

sfp

Re Wawrinka being up and down, I think that's always been the case, but that over the last few years he's been able to string together a handful of good matches in a row at times to allow him to win some major tournaments. His career winning % is below 65% and even this year is only at 75%, compares with Andy at 78% career and 88% this year.

What Stan has done well is win big titles in the last 3 years - 3 slams in 14 career titles (of which 11 titles overall are in the same 3 years from age 28 to 31), and only 1 MS 1000 title show that he is both good and extraordinarily streaky. Does tend to be a bit all or nothing, which isn't necessarily a bad thing - not everyone can be as reliable as the Big 4 have been over the last decade, and being able to raise your level on occasion is probably better for your legacy than being David ferrer, who consistently beat those below him and consistently lost to those above him.

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Re: Race to London - Basel, Vienna, Paris

Post by Guest on Thu 03 Nov 2016, 7:39 pm

Wawrinka when he gets to finals tends to win them.
Grand slams: Finals 3 won 3 runner up 0.

Murray
Grand slams: Finals 11 won 3 runner up 8

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Re: Race to London - Basel, Vienna, Paris

Post by CaledonianCraig on Thu 03 Nov 2016, 8:18 pm

Sooner get to the final than not though and I sure Stan would trade his career stats for Andy's. On the other hand if Andy shared Stan's conversion rate in slam finals he'd have been right up there with the very best.
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Re: Race to London - Basel, Vienna, Paris

Post by Born Slippy on Fri 04 Nov 2016, 9:45 am

Mad for Chelsea wrote:Cilic eventually takes out Goffin, on about his 6th MP in the second set TB having missed a sitter of a volley on the first. He'd have felt rather silly had he then lost the TB Very Happy. This means Goffin is now relying on injuries to make the WTF, while Cilic just has to match Berdych's result to cement his spot.

Cilic is definitely already qualified for the WTF (given Rafa's absence). It's impossible for both Berdych and Tsonga to overtake him. The only question is whether either Berdych (needs a SF) or Tsonga (needs to win Paris) can overtake Thiem for the final spot.

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Re: Race to London - Basel, Vienna, Paris

Post by Mad for Chelsea on Fri 04 Nov 2016, 9:56 am

Yes I didn't realise Cilic had overtaken Thiem, whose form really has plummeted in the second half of the year.

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Re: Race to London - Basel, Vienna, Paris

Post by Born Slippy on Fri 04 Nov 2016, 4:48 pm

Cilic in beast mode at the moment and overpowered Novak in the last game of the set to take it 64. Novak holding it together though, so he should come back.

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Re: Race to London - Basel, Vienna, Paris

Post by Born Slippy on Fri 04 Nov 2016, 5:22 pm

Djokovic withstands the storm to break for 5-4 and goes 15-0 up with an ace. However, he then makes four successive errors - forehand, backhand and successive double faults. Ouch.

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Re: Race to London - Basel, Vienna, Paris

Post by Born Slippy on Fri 04 Nov 2016, 5:32 pm

Novak down 15-40 2 match points - serve volleys on a second serve to save the first, hits a great forehand to save the second. He's so strong when he's nearly down and out.

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Re: Race to London - Basel, Vienna, Paris

Post by Born Slippy on Fri 04 Nov 2016, 5:34 pm

And he holds to force the tiebreak. From looking on his way out, I'd now make Novak big favourite for this match.

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Re: Race to London - Basel, Vienna, Paris

Post by Born Slippy on Fri 04 Nov 2016, 5:42 pm

Amazingly, it's Cilic who cruises the tiebreak 7-2. Desperately poor tiebreak from Novak. 

Murray now needs to beat Berdych and Tsonga/Raonic to be world number 1 on Monday. He does not need to win the final.

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Re: Race to London - Basel, Vienna, Paris

Post by Born Slippy on Fri 04 Nov 2016, 5:50 pm

Very intelligent match by Cilic. I really like his game. Used the short slice to draw Novak in at times, took big swings at the second serves and held his nerve at the end. No one beats Marin 15 times in a row!

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Re: Race to London - Basel, Vienna, Paris

Post by sirfredperry on Fri 04 Nov 2016, 6:02 pm

Well Andy is never going to have a better chance than this to go numero uno. But will the pressure tell?

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Re: Race to London - Basel, Vienna, Paris

Post by CaledonianCraig on Fri 04 Nov 2016, 6:11 pm

So the door is ajar for Andy Murray. As sfp says it is now all about Murray's mindset. If he can focus on the matches and not the rewards at the end of them then I think he will be fine. Whatever happens Novak still has bucket loads of points to defend at the start of the year and on present form you would not bet on him defending them.
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Re: Race to London - Basel, Vienna, Paris

Post by lags72 on Fri 04 Nov 2016, 6:20 pm

@ BS - I think you took a bit of flak earlier in the the thread for a previous (less-than-perfect  Wink ) prediction, but I really can't blame you for saying that Novak would almost certainly pull through in 3, having forced the TB, if only because that was my own very strong expectation too !!

A couple of things stand out for me re this defeat by Cilic :

- Djoko was keen to stress that he had arrived in Paris raring to go .... fully fit and thoroughly motivated/refreshed/re-energised after his fairly lengthy absence from the tour

- the pattern of poor form post-RG nevertheless continues with a loss to a guy who had rarely given him any serious trouble, let alone ever scored a solitary win

When longstanding 'undisputed' Number Ones begin to suffer losses to players who they had previously dominated, it can sometimes be the sign of a new, uncharacteristic vulnerability, which can also evolve into a more serious, protracted decline. It has happened to both Federer and Nadal of course ;  whether this marks a new frailty and deep malaise with Novak, OR whether it is a bad run which will be corrected come the new season, remains to be seen.

Andy has undoubtedly been putting in a fantastic effort and performing better than anyone else on tour these past few months, even it hasn't always been pretty. If he can take this chance, he will be a very creditable Number One.

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Re: Race to London - Basel, Vienna, Paris

Post by CaledonianCraig on Fri 04 Nov 2016, 6:27 pm

To me it is crystal clear what Novak's problem is - lack of motivation.

He had strived so long and so hard to win the French Open and once he did that he thought now what? He has said as much himself. Since RG his form has tailed off.

Lack of motivation for someone so motivated prior to RG must feel to him like losing a big part of his armoury. No motivation erodes at the will to train as hard as you once did, to push yourself in matches as hard as you once did and losses impacts confidence.

For me Novak needs to set himself a new goal (even if unachievable). Something like setting a goal to overhaul Roger's slam total or getting a calendar grand slam. He needs something to refocus his mind and rediscover his hunger and desire.
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Re: Race to London - Basel, Vienna, Paris

Post by lags72 on Fri 04 Nov 2016, 6:55 pm

I would agree that motivation is without doubt a crucial factor at the highest level of the sport - just as it is for those who are a long way down the pecking order and are yet to make their way to the higher echelons. And it has often been said, with good reason, that staying at the top can be more challenging than first getting there.

My personal 'favourite' example of the part played by motivation centres on Johnny Mac. In his autobio ('Serious'), he talks about the difficulty he had in motivating himself after Borg had so dramatically walked away from the game. He felt for a good while that the absence of his biggest rival left him almost with no sense of purpose and an empty feeling. And the fact is, in many ways, Mac was never quite the same player again.

Ironically, it was a lack of motivation that caused Borg himself to lose his own competitive streak.

It really is such a vital factor, and one that Novak must now wrestle with, as CC says.

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Re: Race to London - Basel, Vienna, Paris

Post by Born Slippy on Fri 04 Nov 2016, 7:50 pm

What a set of tennis that was! Berdych playing at an incredible level up to 6-1 in the tiebreak but Murray somehow steals it. Murray can't let up though - any dip in his own level here and Berdych will be all over him.

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Re: Race to London - Basel, Vienna, Paris

Post by Guest82 on Fri 04 Nov 2016, 7:59 pm

Is there a bigger bottler in world sport than Berdych? Actually feel sorry for him as he is playing well, but losing the tie break from 6-1 up he might as well go home.

I would prefer to see Thiem at the O2 as, despite his form, you feel it'll be good experience for him. We know Berdych won't win it.

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Re: Race to London - Basel, Vienna, Paris

Post by Born Slippy on Fri 04 Nov 2016, 8:13 pm

Oh good, a bird flying around in an indoor court. Not the type of thing that can bother Andy at all...

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Re: Race to London - Basel, Vienna, Paris

Post by Guest82 on Fri 04 Nov 2016, 8:26 pm

Feel Murray has been the best player in the world for a while now and deserves to be world number one.

I think this is the beginning of the end for Djokovic. He'll still be competitive but he won't dominate, I'd be surprised if he won more than one more slam.

I think it's all about how long Murray can keep it up for. Good chance for him to fill his boots and a) complete the career slam and b) get himself up there in slam count. He probably won't get double figures, but 7 or 8 may be possible.

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Re: Race to London - Basel, Vienna, Paris

Post by Guest on Fri 04 Nov 2016, 8:30 pm

The problem with Djokovic is the well known 850 rule of Lydian. Ha ha I remember the flack Lydian received for coming up with that. Although I think Djokovic is likely (although not guaranteed) to win a slam or two next year, the second half of this year suggests there are more people who believe they can beat him.

So what can the analysts determine - is there something obviously missing from Djokovic's game? Djokovic relied heavily on movement - sliding around on the edge of his shoes, as well as hitting the ball doing half splits - I assume that must be down a little?

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Re: Race to London - Basel, Vienna, Paris

Post by Guest82 on Fri 04 Nov 2016, 8:36 pm

I actually feel sorry for multi-millionaire with a super model wife Tomas Berdych here.

Plays brilliantly to break back, the throws in a shocker to leave Murray serving for the match again.

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Re: Race to London - Basel, Vienna, Paris

Post by Guest82 on Fri 04 Nov 2016, 8:38 pm

How far is Murray from entering the 850 rule zone?

I think Djokovic next year will be like Nadal for the last two years, we'll all be waiting for him to start dominating again and he'll be losing at quarter/semi final stages.

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Re: Race to London - Basel, Vienna, Paris

Post by Born Slippy on Fri 04 Nov 2016, 8:44 pm

Djokovic has just had a couple of niggly injuries, combined with achieving the career slam. He will be fine next year.

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Re: Race to London - Basel, Vienna, Paris

Post by Born Slippy on Fri 04 Nov 2016, 8:45 pm

Bit of an iffy second set by Andy but gets the job done. Closes to 235 points behind Novak.

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Re: Race to London - Basel, Vienna, Paris

Post by Guest82 on Fri 04 Nov 2016, 8:47 pm

Murray is really there for the taking. An on form Raonic or Tsonga might actually beat him tomorrow.

Cilic actually looks a good bet for the title I think.

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Re: Race to London - Basel, Vienna, Paris

Post by Guest on Fri 04 Nov 2016, 8:49 pm

Well if Murray gets the end of year number one spot then I think despite an incredibly strong year for British sport, and despite winning it last year, I'll have to put Murray as favourite for SPOTY. If he can win the end of year WTF title, something else that has eluded him, I think that would make him a "certainty". Anyway first thing first, Murray has to get to the final at Paris.

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Re: Race to London - Basel, Vienna, Paris

Post by Guest on Fri 04 Nov 2016, 8:51 pm

Good to see Cilic returning to form this year. What happened to Del Potro this tournament?

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Re: Race to London - Basel, Vienna, Paris

Post by CaledonianCraig on Fri 04 Nov 2016, 8:51 pm

Djokovic won't win any slams as long as he remains in this demotivated state. Perhaps if he does lose the world No 1 that will act as motivation? But one thing is sure he needs to find something to trigger the motivation or else his career will slowly fall away.
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Re: Race to London - Basel, Vienna, Paris

Post by banbrotam on Fri 04 Nov 2016, 8:53 pm

The Novak loss should shock no-one. Currently when he's 'on', like Del boy, Cilic is becoming arguably the hardest player to beat

So the two semi finalists from the 2009 US Open, could be set to be genuine contenders of 2017

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Re: Race to London - Basel, Vienna, Paris

Post by banbrotam on Fri 04 Nov 2016, 8:56 pm

Guest82 wrote:Murray is really there for the taking. An on form Raonic or Tsonga might actually beat him tomorrow.

Cilic actually looks a good bet for the title I think.

I actually thought that this was a very impressive win. Berdych would have beaten anyone else

No real sign of tiredness. Remarkable run.

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Re: Race to London - Basel, Vienna, Paris

Post by CaledonianCraig on Fri 04 Nov 2016, 8:58 pm

With Andy the difference is that he is winning sets and matches from positions (in the past) he'd perhaps have lost. Just looks so more assured and tuned in.
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Re: Race to London - Basel, Vienna, Paris

Post by Guest on Fri 04 Nov 2016, 9:07 pm

Despite Murray's incredibly successful tennis career, one always felt he lacked the belief he could be top of the pile.  One might imagine that it is Lendl in the background maybe motivating him, or it could be Delgado, or it could be Murray himself.  Anyway this has been an incredibly long year for Murray and he is still going.  One must also recall the efforts he has also put into the Davis Cup these past two years (& it is good to see Kyle Edmund taking a step up in class, and Konta is doing really well - and may cement her place in the top ten).


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Re: Race to London - Basel, Vienna, Paris

Post by Guest82 on Fri 04 Nov 2016, 9:08 pm

Berdych should certainly have won the first set, who knows what would have happened if he did. Verdasco probably should have beaten him too.

That confidence and feeling of invincibility is pulling Murray through, u get the feeling that someone with a bit more belief in themselves at the big moments will probably beat Murray. I think he's tired.

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Re: Race to London - Basel, Vienna, Paris

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