World Tour Finals at the O2 - 2019

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Post by sirfredperry on Tue 05 Nov 2019, 2:50 pm

Draw is now out for the year-end championship - the last but one to played in London.

Fed and Djoko are in the same group along with Thiem and Berrettini. Rafa has Medvedev, Tsitsipas and Zverev.

They are, on paper, tough groups. But the O2 - for any number of reasons (fatigue, different surface) - has produced some one-sided round-robin matches in recent years.

I think the eight are really strong this year. In some years the field has included the likes of David Ferrer and Berdych who have proved round-robin cannon . Rafa's abdominal injury appears to be not so serious that he can't play, although it remains to be seen how well he'll last.

I think Fed and Djoko will emerge from their group. But as for the other group - who knows? Looks a tricky one to predict.

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Post by MrInvisible on Thu 07 Nov 2019, 2:39 pm

After a run of fairly lacklustre ATP world tour finals I thought it had picked up a bit in last couple of years. Nadal definitely has the toughest group - his group is tough to call - he's got Medvedev, who's been best player on tour for most of the summer and autumn, defending champion Zverev and Tsitsipas who's likely to be well motivated after an upturn in form of late. Nadal will do well to get out of that group.

I don't know a huge amount about Berrettini's prowess on indoor courts. Thiem's not at his best (though didn't he win Vienna?) generally indoors, but should provide reasonably competitive matches.

I'm going for Djokovic v Medvedev final.

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Post by sirfredperry on Thu 07 Nov 2019, 6:14 pm

Have a sneaking feeling that Rafa will do well this year. It's not his favourite venue by any means. I was at the 02 a few years back to see Rog marmalise him 3 and love and that was at a time when Rog was regularly losing to Rafa.

We've had surprise winners for the last two years in London but I think one of the Big Three will triumph this year.

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Post by CaledonianCraig on Thu 07 Nov 2019, 7:12 pm

I think Djokovic will win the title. However, I won't rule out Federer. Rafa is not an end of season man and these courts don't suit him either.
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Post by sirfredperry on Fri 08 Nov 2019, 8:20 am

Rafa's doctor has been reported as saying that it won't be until Saturday or Sunday when it will be known for sure if the Spaniard plays. So I suppose there's still a chance he'll pull out.

Even his exit will still mean one of Tsitsipas, Zverev or Medvedev won't make it thru to the semis. It's a tough group.

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Post by lags72 on Fri 08 Nov 2019, 6:12 pm

@ sfp - how reliable do we think the report quoting Rafa’s doctor might be ?

I ask because I’m (just this minute) hearing on a BBC sports bulletin that Rafa himself is confident he will be ready & fit to play.

I think this is one of the strongest line ups for many years. You would think - given the entry criteria - that this would have to be the case every year ..... but somehow this time the field seems especially ‘stellar’

So .... just two more editions here in London after this long spell of success ....... and then Turin Shocked I can’t help wonder whether the ATP will eventually come to regret their (somewhat surprising) decision, but I guess only time will tell.

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Post by sirfredperry on Fri 08 Nov 2019, 9:23 pm

It all depends on how well Rafa will be able to serve. The player himself has said he's looking to improve each day leading up to his scheduled Monday appearance.

As for the venue for the WTF, Djoko - for one - has been pressing for some time for a move away from London. Remains to be seen if Turin will get the sort of crowds the O2 has hosted.

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Post by sirfredperry on Sun 10 Nov 2019, 8:54 am

Djoko v Berrettini and Fed v Thiem today to kick off action at the O2.

Amazing to think this is arguably the "weaker" of the two groups simply due to the presence of Berrettini who may yet go on to surprise us.

For today, though, Djoko should win. You can make a good case for either result in the Fed-Thiem clash. Fed bt the Austrian easily here last year but is 4-2 down in the head-to-head and Thiem has just won in Vienna.

In these tight round-robin affairs, it's sometimes useful for the losers to at least grab a set if the calculators have to come out to decide the semi qualifiers.

With no Murray, organisers must be pleased that Fed is still around and, who knows, may still be around for the final O2 tourney next year.

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Post by lags72 on Sun 10 Nov 2019, 9:28 am

It all kicks off soon !

Agreed, Djokovic will be too solid for Berrettini, whereas Thiem / Fed is hard to call. Fed obviously has vast O2 experience in the locker, but Thiem’s past overall record against him is a major plus, confidence-wise. Thiem is very strong (as we know from his clay encounters v Rafa)

Over at the #NextGen, the big rising star is now Jannik Sinner, and we can expect to see a lot of him next season, surely ? Ranked below 500 just one year ago, but has just taken the NextGen Title in Milan. That IS impressive clap clap

PS quite possible we could see Federer at the very last O2 edition next year, but the prospects of him appearing at the inaugural Turin event in 2021 are slim to none.

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Post by lags72 on Sun 10 Nov 2019, 3:30 pm

First match done & dusted in double quick time, 6-2, 6-1.

Berrettini actually hit the ball cleanly, but Djokovic put on an immaculate display, and - apart from conceding one break - just never gave the young Italian a chance.

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Post by sirfredperry on Sun 10 Nov 2019, 4:57 pm

Felt sorry for Berrettini. Djoko was just incredible. Some of his returns were almost superhuman.

But Berrettini only tried S and V right at the end and I think he could have perhaps tried to take a bit of pace off the ball. Doubt, though, much would have worked today against Djoko.

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Post by lags72 on Sun 10 Nov 2019, 10:03 pm

RR1 defeat for the Fed as Thiem takes the match in two close sets.

Federer also lost his first match here last year (to Nishikori)

Great opener for Thiem, who has clearly brought his Vienna form to London !

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Post by laverfan on Mon 11 Nov 2019, 2:13 am

lags72 wrote:RR1 defeat for the Fed as Thiem takes the match in two close sets. Federer also lost his first match here last year (to Nishikori)

Ironically, he beat Thiem and Anderson to lose to Zverev in SF. Federer has his work cut out, if he wants to progress past the RR.

lags72 wrote:Great opener for Thiem, who has clearly brought his Vienna form to London !

If Berretini can bring his power to bear, Thiem has a tough encounter on paper.

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Post by sirfredperry on Mon 11 Nov 2019, 8:28 am

Difficult to see Fed progressing now. One hope is that Djoko beats Thiem in straight sets and then would only need one set against Fed to move on and may not be too bothered to win.

Has anyone won five of their first seven matches against Fed as Thiem has done? Henman, I think. Rafa? Hewitt?

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Post by sirfredperry on Mon 11 Nov 2019, 9:04 pm

Good win by Tsitsipas over Medvedev who probably paid for being the less adventurous of the pair.

Henman, a born S&V man, was constantly imploring Med to come in more, but to no avail.

As I write, Rafa is a set and a break down to Zverev. Wonder if Rafa is fully fit. I keep checking the scores to see if he's had to retire.

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Post by sirfredperry on Tue 12 Nov 2019, 7:19 am

Rafa went down 2 and 4 in the end but at least he's still talking about staying in the tournament.

Today Fed must win to have any chance of progressing further. Djoko v Thiem should be interesting tonight.

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Post by sirfredperry on Tue 12 Nov 2019, 10:16 am

Should we be reading so much into these - and previous - O2 results?

Think back to 2017 when Dimi waltzed to the title in London and then had a poor year. Last year Zverev was crowned champion but has also followed it with a comparatively underwhelming 2019.

The O2 carries big points - too many? - and is prestigious. But it comes at the end of a long, wearying season.

One of Thiem or the young guns could well win here (although my money is on Djoko). Remember how many matches Thiem and Tsitsipas won at Wimbledon and the USO this year? None.

Until these young talents do consistently well at the Slams you can't talk about a changing of the guard.

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Post by lags72 on Tue 12 Nov 2019, 3:01 pm

Berrettini comes out fighting impressively, with his (extremely fast !) serve and forehand working very well. This is already a lot better than his performance v Djoko on Sunday eve (and indeed v Fed at Wimbledon)

But he succumbs in an opening set TB which Federer takes 7-2.

In these early stages Federer’s footwork seems well below the level of his more youthful, halcyon days, and he has missed a lot of lines which he would have made in times past. Let’s see if that improves in the second set.

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Post by lags72 on Tue 12 Nov 2019, 3:40 pm

Well the old man did improve, and after an early break in the second, Federer got his vital match win 7-6 6-3.

He certainly did enough, and the pressure eventually forced Berrettini - who put on a perfectly respectable show - into a run of errors.

What is clear from today is that Federer would have to raise his level by several notches (whatever the definition of a notch is ..... ?!) to win his next round v Djoko. Perhaps (?) he was conserving some energy for that one .... hence the less than stellar performance this afternoon.

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Post by sirfredperry on Tue 12 Nov 2019, 5:17 pm

Saw quite a lot of the Fed match today. I thought Berrettini would perform a lot better than in his fairly dismal showing on Sunday and so it proved.

Fed was not at his best and it got quite scrappy during that long eighth game of the second set. But some smart first serves got him thru.

Can't really see him beating Djoko though, even if his performance improved. The only hope then would be for Thiem to lose tonight and against Berrettini.


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Post by lags72 on Tue 12 Nov 2019, 11:23 pm

All hail Dominic Thiem !

He follows up that  impressive win over Federer by taking down Djokovic in three hard fought sets. In the decider, he was 1-4 down in the TB but won six of the next seven points Shocked

With an 11pm finish, this must rank as one of the longest WTF Bo3 matches, and the crowd sure got their money’s worth.

The upcoming encounter between Djoko and Fed now takes on added importance for both.

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Post by lags72 on Tue 12 Nov 2019, 11:29 pm

Some post-match comments from Thiem :

“.This was really one of these very special matches what I practice all my life for, what I practice all my childhood for. I mean, really epic one in front of an amazing atmosphere, beating a real legend of our game so I couldn’t be happier. And also I qualified for the semifinal which is the best.”

and

Also, a little bit of luck here and there but in general it was just unbelievable and a match I will probably never forget.”

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Post by sirfredperry on Wed 13 Nov 2019, 8:20 am

Terrific win by Thiem. How often does Djoko lose after taking the first set? And he was 4-1 up in the final-set tiebreak, too.

Don't think Fed will beat Djoko but at least the Swiss knows now that a win will take him thru'. A Rog win will also ensure Rafa becomes year-end number one.

Have a feeling that Rafa will up his game today and take out Medvedev. Tsitsipas v Zverev is anyone's guess.

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Post by lags72 on Wed 13 Nov 2019, 3:12 pm

Medvedev picks up where Thiem left off last night. He takes the opener on a TB after some extremely high quality shotmaking both by the Russian and by Nadal.

Rafa is looking fully fired-up so we can surely expect a customary fightback in the second set.

Vamos ...... Cool

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Post by lags72 on Wed 13 Nov 2019, 4:21 pm

Rafa took the second comfortably, 6-3, after a bit of help from Medvedev.

But now well into the decider, with Medvedev in control at 4-1 and making life very difficult indeed for Rafa - who continues to fight hard (as always !) and is actually playing pretty well.

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Post by lags72 on Wed 13 Nov 2019, 4:49 pm

So much drama in this afternoon’s match. Nadal has just taken five games in a row to make it 6-5. Medvedev must serve to earn a TB. I think he will lose, snatching defeat from jaws of victory.

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Post by sirfredperry on Wed 13 Nov 2019, 7:02 pm

A scarcely believable win for Rafa after Med had points for 5-0 and an MP at 5-2 in that final set.

Med played extremely well for long periods, negating Rafa's aggression and consistency. But he started throwing his toys out of the pram towards the end and could even have lost before the tiebreak.

I can't see the Russian staying at or near the top if he gets all emotional. He's 23, not 13, and should be over all the tantrum stages by now.

You can see why Rafa struggles indoors. It was only at the end, when staring down the barrel, that his shots were getting through the court.

So the battle for year-end number one goes on.

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Post by sirfredperry on Thu 14 Nov 2019, 8:26 am

Wrong result for Rafa last night with Zverev losing. Now means Rafa could beat Tsitsipas in straight sets tomorrow and still not reach the semis.

But Rafa's win yesterday - surely his best-ever comeback - does at least mean Djoko will have to win the tournament to be year-end number one.

I think Djoko will once again be too good for Fed tonight.

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Post by lags72 on Thu 14 Nov 2019, 9:14 am

So then ........ all eight players have now played two RR matches - but only two of them have 100% records. Somewhat surprisingly perhaps, those players are Thiem and Tsitsipas.

It will be a full (to-the-rafters !) house tonight for another clash of the Wimbledon finalists, high pressure stuff with a SF place on the line.

Yes .... amazing heroics from Rafa last night. And that will haunt Medvedev for a looong time. He really should have seen it through.

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Post by Soul Requiem on Thu 14 Nov 2019, 10:16 am

Nadal in finishing match stronger shocker.

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Post by slashermcguirk on Thu 14 Nov 2019, 3:16 pm

What happens if Thiem loses today and Novak or roger win? Does Thiem win the group regardless because of positive head to head vs either or how does that work?

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Post by Calder106 on Thu 14 Nov 2019, 3:48 pm

If I am reading things right it is H2H as only two players have 2 wins 1 loss. Therefore Thiem has won group regardless of today's results. It is only if three players are tied on point that things like sets won and lost come into play.

he final standings of each group is determined by the first of the following methods that apply:
a) Greatest number of wins;
b) Greatest number of matches played;
Comment: 2-1 won-loss record beats a 2-0 won-loss record; a 1-2 record beats a 1-0 record.
c) Head-to-head results if only two (2) players are tied,
d) If three (3) players are tied, then...

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Post by slashermcguirk on Thu 14 Nov 2019, 3:52 pm

Great, thanks for clarifying. Just as well for Thiem because he just lost in straight sets to Berrettini 😂

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Post by sirfredperry on Thu 14 Nov 2019, 4:04 pm

Berrettini wins in straight sets against Thiem who was, understandably, keeping his powder dry for the semis.

Completes a stunning year for the Italian who has come from nowhere into the top 10. Defeat for Thiem means that whatever happens now Federer will stay third in the rankings - some achievement for a 38-year-old.*

* Barring some extraordinary results that see Medvedev advancing.

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Post by slashermcguirk on Thu 14 Nov 2019, 9:42 pm

What a lethargic performance from djokovic. A real anti climax of a match. If I have one criticism of this tournament, it produces a lot of damp squib matches

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Post by sirfredperry on Thu 14 Nov 2019, 10:00 pm

Djokovic's exit means Rafa will be the year end number one. Must say I didn't think Fed would overcome Djoko and certainly not in straight sets

According to reports Fed served particularly well and Djoko was below par.

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Post by theslosty on Thu 14 Nov 2019, 10:11 pm

Fed served great and his forehand was really on song. Think it meant something to him to avenge the Wimbledon final.

But yeah I agree Novak didn't put up much of a fight.
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Post by sirfredperry on Thu 14 Nov 2019, 10:29 pm

Djoko may have been injured which might explain the comparative onesidedness of it.

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Post by lags72 on Thu 14 Nov 2019, 11:14 pm

With the sole exception of Rafa at RG, there is no match-up, on any surface / venue, where you can safely rule out - even at the ripe old age of 38  - a Federer win. He didn’t allow Djokovic to get his teeth into things tonight and even the best returner on the Tour found himself distinctly troubled by the Fed serve.

This was one that Novak wanted to win to keep alive his chances of ending the season as No. 1 but Federer had one of his good days, and executed his game plan perfectly.


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Post by lags72 on Thu 14 Nov 2019, 11:20 pm

slashermcguirk wrote:What a lethargic performance from djokovic. A real anti climax of a match. If I have one criticism of this tournament, it produces a lot of damp squib matches

That’s very much a feature of Slams through the years, so really no different in that respect. We have had a couple of top quality encounters this week already ..... Thiem v Djokovic, Nadal v Zverev, Nadal v Medvedev .....

We tend to remember the ‘classic contests’ from the Slams - but in truth there are countless drab matches too, at every Slam, virtually every year.

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Post by sirfredperry on Fri 15 Nov 2019, 9:25 am

Apparently Djoko had injury problems during the match but he was already trailing by then so it may not have made much difference .

Rafa will do well to progress today as it's not in his hands. Consolation for him is that he's number one at least thru to the end of January.

Djoko had been fast approaching Fed's record of total weeks at the top. Still think he will eventually pass it but will have to wait a bit now.

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Post by Soul Requiem on Fri 15 Nov 2019, 9:27 am

Djokovic always has injury problems when he loses.

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Post by lags72 on Fri 15 Nov 2019, 9:55 am

Soul Requiem wrote:Djokovic always has injury problems when he loses.

In fairness to Djokovic he later made only a passing reference to a twinge felt in his elbow, and did not offer the slightest excuse for his defeat. He stressed that Federer was superior in every department and was simply the better player, by far, on the night. A clean straight sets win against the best returner on Tour says it all.

But I do know what you mean ! For years (especially on the ‘old’ 606), there was a view that Rafa only lost when he was ‘injured’. In truth it was always a sub-section of Rafa loyalists who would subscribe to the theory, and Rafa himself would generally not make such excuses (not sure I would say the same where Uncle Toni was concerned, mind you chin )

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Post by slashermcguirk on Fri 15 Nov 2019, 10:48 am

Djokovic didn’t claim to have an injury and to be fair is much more sporting in defeat than most of the other players.

In terms of damp squib matches, the reason I say it for this event is that it’s only the top 8 players competing. Grand slams you are always going to get lots of mismatches.

I think the ATP finals delivers a lot of poor matches given the quality of players but this comes back to the fact that the tennis season is too long and grueling. A lot of the players who are consistently reaching finals and semis each week are burnt out or injured by the time this event comes.

I think the last few ATP finals events have been poor

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Post by Soul Requiem on Fri 15 Nov 2019, 11:42 am

lags72 wrote:
Soul Requiem wrote:Djokovic always has injury problems when he loses.

In fairness to Djokovic he later made only a passing reference to a twinge felt in his elbow, and did not offer the slightest excuse for his defeat. He stressed that Federer was superior in every department and was simply the better player, by far, on the night. A clean straight sets win against the best returner on Tour says it all.

But I do know what you mean ! For years (especially on the ‘old’ 606), there was a view that Rafa only lost when he was ‘injured’. In truth it was always a sub-section of Rafa loyalists who would subscribe to the theory, and Rafa himself would generally not make such excuses (not sure I would say the same where Uncle Toni was concerned, mind you chin )

There's no need for even a passing reference to an injury, there's always a grimace or a niggle whenever he or Nadal lose, if it's a lesser opponent then fair enough but when it's the GOAT it's just a bit silly.

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Post by Calder106 on Fri 15 Nov 2019, 12:04 pm

Of course we only have to remember that when Federer lost to Dimitrov at the U.S. Open this year he didn't mention his injury. Whistle

They all do it at times. Djokovic was very clear that he was outplayed on the night.

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Post by sirfredperry on Fri 15 Nov 2019, 12:53 pm

When Djoko loses a match - and let's face it, it doesn't happen often - he's always most gracious at the net, smiling and congratulating his opponent.

Think Rafa will win this afternoon although it may not be enough. Guess we have to start thinking about the possibility of Federer winning the whole thing. At this rate he could well be back at the O2 next year.

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Post by sirfredperry on Fri 15 Nov 2019, 3:15 pm

Tsitsipas takes the first set 7-6. High-quality first set until the tiebreak during which Rafa made four UEs.

The Greek looks pretty solid and Rafa can't seem to drive him off the court. Still, Rafa came from behind (at times a very long way behind) to beat Medvedev so anything is still possible.

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Post by lags72 on Fri 15 Nov 2019, 3:20 pm

Fantastic stuff this afternoon from Nadal and Tsitsipas - spectators in the 02 are being treated to some top draw tennis. First set to Tsitsipas on a TB.

Rafa needs a comeback in the second or he goes home. Will we see another heroic escape, as in the Medvedev match ..... chin chin

EDIT - penned just before your own comments, sfp .... we seem to be on same wavelength !

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Post by sirfredperry on Fri 15 Nov 2019, 4:02 pm

One set all, now. Rafa was able, finally, to make some inroads on the Greek's serve and eventually got the break in the ninth game before serving it out.

Thought Tsitsi looked a little tired at the end of that set but no doubt he'll come roaring back.

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