2018 end of season: ATP Masters Finals in London/Davis Cup final

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2018 end of season: ATP Masters Finals in London/Davis Cup final

Post by MrInvisible on Sun 04 Nov 2018, 11:30 pm

As we wind down towards the end of the year I thought I'd combine ATP finals and Davis Cup final in one thread.

On the latter, it is going to be a bit of a historic final - the last one before the new fangled format takes shape next year. Defending champions France will be up against Croatia at home in Lille - interestingly on an indoor claycourt - slightly odd choice as both Cilic and Coric are comfortable on the red stuff. France have of course great strength in depth, but Croatia are capable of an upset, if Cilic doesn't over-exert himself at the ATP finals in London.

On the ATP finals its difficult to see anything other than a Djokovic win, though Federer may take heart from pushing him close in Paris. After a run of some fairly lacklustre ATP finals tournaments at London last year was pretty good fun - lots of 3 setters, a surprise package in Sock and some enjoyable tennis served up by Goffin and Dimitrov (remember them?). Other than Djokovic and Federer, assuming Nadal doesn't play (or is below par), I'd tip Nishikori to reach the semis, with potentially Anderson or Thiem getting through to last 4 too. This will probably be Anderson's one and only appearance at the finals, so I'm expecting him to be more motivated than some of the other players. Really not expecting much from Zverev, and Cilic, who has under-performed here with all those close 3 set losses will probably have 1 eye on the Davis Cup final.

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Re: 2018 end of season: ATP Masters Finals in London/Davis Cup final

Post by sirfredperry on Mon 05 Nov 2018, 7:20 pm

Rafa has pulled out and will use the time off to have an ankle operation. He rarely completes a full season and this is the umpteenth time he's failed to compete in the yr-end championship.
At least Rog and Djoko will be in separate groups now. A possible Isner-Anderson match is in prospect now (with spectators being issued with crash helmets.) Djoko is assured of number one for a while now. Can he pass Roger's 310 weeks?

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Re: 2018 end of season: ATP Masters Finals in London/Davis Cup final

Post by MrInvisible on Tue 06 Nov 2018, 2:41 pm

Groups have been announced. In the 'Guga Kuerten' group we have:
Djokovic, Zverev, Cilic, Isner

In the 'Lleyton Hewitt' group its:
Federer, Anderson, Thiem, Nishikori

Things look to be pretty straightforward for Djokovic in his group - Cilic is capable of pushing him to 3 sets but has a poor record in the head-to-head, whilst I'm expecting Zverev to be the whipping boy of the group. In theory you'd expect Cilic rather than Isner to qualify, but the Croat may have 1 eye on the forthcoming Davis Cup final.

Federer has a tougher group, but should still qualify. Anderson has been in the form of his life this year and will be extra motivated in what is likely to be his one and only ATP finals appearance, whilst Thiem has avoided his usual 2nd half of season capitulation and has improved on faster surfaces this year. Nishikori is no pushover either. I'm going for Federer and Anderson to qualify.

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Re: 2018 end of season: ATP Masters Finals in London/Davis Cup final

Post by sirfredperry on Wed 07 Nov 2018, 6:10 pm

Not much in it as far as the groups are concerned. Cilic last year I seem to recall was in winning positions in all three of his matches and contrived to lose them all. It's astonishing how often that seems to happen with him.
The Federer group are playing first which gives them a day off before the semis. I'm taking Djoko, Zverev and Fed to make the semis. The other semi finalist from Fed's group could be anyone.

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Re: 2018 end of season: ATP Masters Finals in London/Davis Cup final

Post by sirfredperry on Thu 08 Nov 2018, 6:20 pm

While we await the year-end championship at the O2, I wonder if anyone really gives a fxxx about the next-generation thing that is going on at the moment. Total irrelevance. Only good thing about it is the fact that it's a non-ranking tournament: plus it gives organisers a chance to try out innovations.

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Re: 2018 end of season: ATP Masters Finals in London/Davis Cup final

Post by No name Bertie on Sun 11 Nov 2018, 9:08 am

No I haven't seen the next - generation thing (a tournament?).

Kudos to old man Federer - getting to yet another end of year ATP finals tournament and remaining competitive.  Kudos for Djokovic for his comeback.  I am not sure whether this is prime Djokovic (age and elbow wise).  Has he fully recovered from his elbow condition?  I guess as the body ages and more miles are put on the clock all the body joints begin to cause problems as they wear out.   Nadal is battling away - so this time it seems that he has an ankle issue to recover from.

This success in their post-30 years for me confirms the unprecedented nature of the "top four era".  I hope Andy Murray is able to make a comeback so that he is challenging for top titles again - but so far the jury is out as to whether this is going to happen.  I assume that Wawrinka is now not going to be returning to a level that will enable him to challenge for grand slam titles again.

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Re: 2018 end of season: ATP Masters Finals in London/Davis Cup final

Post by sirfredperry on Sun 11 Nov 2018, 9:31 am

As the year-end championships start, Djoko is clear favourite for another title, with Fed second favourite. Can anyone stop them? Possibly Zverev. May be Anderson. The fact that last year Dimi and Goffin emerged as the finalists shows surprises can happen.
Murray has been speaking about his fitness. Says each day things are getting better, which is positive. It will soon be time to make predictions for 2019. I've been reading thru the posts for the 2018 predictions. Very interesting.

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Re: 2018 end of season: ATP Masters Finals in London/Davis Cup final

Post by No name Bertie on Sun 11 Nov 2018, 9:52 am

For next year I am expecting Thiem, Coric, Tsitsipas, Khachanov, Alex de Minaur, Taylor Fritz, Andrey Rublev, Shapovalov to make further improvements in their games.

I have been disappointed with Krygios progress as well as Hyeon Chung (too many injuries). I think people like Kyle Edmund is maximising his potential and am not sure how much further he can progress - I think top 20 is maybe maximising his potential. He is very likely to drop points at AO 2019. I am not 100% convinced that Zverev is going to be a major player in winning grand slams (unconvinced of his biomechanics).

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Re: 2018 end of season: ATP Masters Finals in London/Davis Cup final

Post by MrInvisible on Sun 11 Nov 2018, 10:18 pm

Anderson beat Thiem 6-3 7-6 and now looking good to reach the semis, whilst Federer lost to Nishikori 7-6 6-3 and is in danger of going out before the end of the group stage. If he does fail to progress it does have a beginning of the end feel for Federer, given how successful he has been at this tournament over the years.

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Re: 2018 end of season: ATP Masters Finals in London/Davis Cup final

Post by sirfredperry on Mon 12 Nov 2018, 8:50 am

Saw the end of the Fed match and he looked completely out of sorts. Said afterwards the court was playing slow. Needs to win his next two matches now and even that may not be enough depending on other scores.

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Re: 2018 end of season: ATP Masters Finals in London/Davis Cup final

Post by sirfredperry on Tue 13 Nov 2018, 5:13 pm

After Djoko bt Isner last night, Anderson demolished Nishi this afternoon for the loss of just one game.
Fed will be out if he loses to Thiem tonight. But such are the vagaries of these finals that he could lose to Anderson and still go through.

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Re: 2018 end of season: ATP Masters Finals in London/Davis Cup final

Post by sirfredperry on Wed 14 Nov 2018, 7:45 am

Fed still alive after that straight-sets win over Thiem. By my reckoning all four could still qualify but Anderson only needs to win one set and Thiem would need to win in straight sets and hope Fed lost in straight sets. (I think that's right).

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Re: 2018 end of season: ATP Masters Finals in London/Davis Cup final

Post by MrInvisible on Wed 14 Nov 2018, 1:04 pm

Fair to say that the tournament's not really come alive yet - having paid through the nose for tickets previously at the O2 I pity the spectators who must feel a bit shortchanged. Last year is the only time in last 4 or 5 years when I found the tournament particularly enjoyable with lots of 3 setters.

On a more positive note, wanted to put in a mention for Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares, through to the doubles semi-finals already.

Onto today's matches, Zverev takes on Djokovic whilst Cilic will play Isner. Zverev did well to take his changes and beat Cilic in straight sets, and ought to reach the semis now. However, whilst I think he will give Djokovic a good match on what could potentially be one of the best matches of this lacklustre tournament, I think the Serb will prevail, possibly in 3 sets. I think Cilic v Isner could go to 3 sets - difficult one to call - normally you'd go for Cilic, but he does struggle to close out matches these days. Surely there will be at least one, possibly 2 tie-breaks.

Am I being way too optimistic going for two 3 setters today?

Was v important for Federer to win in straight sets, but Anderson won't give him an easy match. Will go for Federer in 3 sets. I'm still sticking with both players to progress from this group.

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Re: 2018 end of season: ATP Masters Finals in London/Davis Cup final

Post by sirfredperry on Wed 14 Nov 2018, 6:36 pm

Zverev practically chucked in the towel at the end of the Djoko match. Very disappointing and I suppose there is a chance he won't reach the semis now.
Very tired players just going thru the motions this year, it seems. This tournament was supposed to provide a thrilling climax to the season with the number one at stake. It's only happened that way, I think, twice. Disappointment for those who've bought tickets.

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Re: 2018 end of season: ATP Masters Finals in London/Davis Cup final

Post by No name Bertie on Wed 14 Nov 2018, 10:17 pm

I assume the O2 arena gets sold out early in the year before the final eight is decided. It's in London, people are visiting London all the time, and many would pre-plan watching some tennis during their stay etc. I guess it is the sponsorship of the event and the television receipts that will eventually take a hit once the last of the big four retire.

I personally for some time have found the women's game unwatchable because of the squawking etc. Once the connection is broken, the interest is broken.

I personally find the drama as exciting as the skill sets on display. By all accounts the first set between Djokovic and Zverev was a tight affair, and the second set less so.

Cilic vs Isner has gone into a third set with Cilic a break up.

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Re: 2018 end of season: ATP Masters Finals in London/Davis Cup final

Post by No name Bertie on Wed 14 Nov 2018, 10:32 pm

Cilic wins and Djokovic is through to the semi-finals.

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Re: 2018 end of season: ATP Masters Finals in London/Davis Cup final

Post by MrInvisible Yesterday at 4:03 pm

Thiem beat Nishikori to keep alive his hopes of reaching the semi-finals. Federer now only needs a set against Anderson in their match this evening to be sure of qualifying himself.

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Re: 2018 end of season: ATP Masters Finals in London/Davis Cup final

Post by sirfredperry Yesterday at 6:17 pm

Fed actually only needs five games (six games if one set goes to 7) to progress. Could even top the group with a straight-sets win. Nishi seems to have totally imploded - winning just six games in his last two matches. Wondered if that is the least number of games won in a two-match sequence at the year-end finals?

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Re: 2018 end of season: ATP Masters Finals in London/Davis Cup final

Post by sirfredperry Yesterday at 9:43 pm

Federer bt Anderson 4 and 3 to top the group and probably avoid Djokovic in the semi-final.

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Re: 2018 end of season: ATP Masters Finals in London/Davis Cup final

Post by sirfredperry Today at 7:40 am

The two wins Federer has had this week are, somewhat remarkably, the first he's had against a top-10 opponent since February at Rotterdam (def Dimi).
Rog has actually only played four matches against top 10ers between Rotterdam and London, losing twice to Djoko and once to Anderson and Delpo.

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Re: 2018 end of season: ATP Masters Finals in London/Davis Cup final

Post by lags72 Today at 12:16 pm

Spent a most enjoyable day at the 02 yesterday, attending both sessions.

High quality tennis throughout (these guys do look like they’ve played the game a bit .... Very Happy ), with star billing of course being the appearance of The Fed at 8pm, when the crowd were certainly enthused. Always good to see him on court .... not sure just how many more chances there might realistically be, with the big 40 drawing closer.

Probably Djoko’s title for the taking given how strong he has been in recent months. A re-match of his clash with Rog in Paris would be no bad thing, especially if they can both bring their A game again.

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Re: 2018 end of season: ATP Masters Finals in London/Davis Cup final

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