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World Tour Finals at the O2 - 2019

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

First topic message reminder :

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 lags72 Fri 15 Nov 2019, 5:46 pm

So Rafa edges it in three, 7-5 in the decider. Some superb play from both.

Is this the year that he finally wins his first-ever WTF, ending the year in style, back to the top as Number One  ..?
He certainly looks very determined & focused .... more so, I reckon, than at any previous WTF.

If he does take the Title, he will have done it the hard way ! But before that can happen, we have to wait for the outcome of this evening’s session.

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Post by sirfredperry Fri 15 Nov 2019, 5:54 pm

Very good match. Tsitsipas got it deeper into the third set than I thought he would with some gutsy holds.

But, as with all the great players, Rafa came up with some outstanding shots at crucial times. He's produced some of his best 02 play in the last two matches. Ironically, he could be out by tonight.

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Post by laverfan Fri 15 Nov 2019, 10:40 pm

Zverev through to the SF. Out of the 'old' Guard, interesting that Federer is the one still standing.

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Post by sirfredperry Sat 16 Nov 2019, 9:11 am

The semis today. I think Thiem will beat Zverev but the other match could be close.

In Fed's favour is his kinder schedule. I thought Tsitsipas played very well for long periods yesterday but it must have been tiring.

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Post by lags72 Sat 16 Nov 2019, 3:41 pm

Tsitsipas red hot today. Federer well below the level of his match v Djokovic. SO many unforced errors and wayward shots .... almost unreal.

Tsitsipas a set and a break up and is just about into the Final. On this standard of play, he absolutely deserves to be there.

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Post by sirfredperry Sat 16 Nov 2019, 3:54 pm

After squandering numerous BPs, Fed finally gets a break to level it at 2-2 in the second.

Tsitsi seems a bad match-up for Fed. He seems totally at home with Fed's attacking play, outhitting him and almost nonchalantly warding off the BPs.

Perhaps if Fed can just spin it out a bit he can tire the Greek who didn't get a day off yesterday.

Also wonder why Fed doesn't try more slice and take the pace off the ball. Tsitsipas seems quite happy with the heavy-hitting game.

But as I write the Greek breaks again. End of the match?

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Post by lags72 Sat 16 Nov 2019, 4:09 pm

Federer will be finished with London in a few minutes from now, but I’m not so sure it was due to a bad match-up vs. the impressive young Greek. Federer has coped well with many heavy hitters through his career.

Today was, I feel, simply a sub-par performance all-round - and more than anything in the serving department, as evidenced by some very poor stats. Only three aces throughout the match. These days happen.

Full credit to Tsitsipas for a sparkling show, and so soon after suffering that three set loss to Nadal.

It was the youngest versus the oldest today, a full 17 year gap ..... and youth came out on top.


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Post by sirfredperry Sat 16 Nov 2019, 4:11 pm

Tsitsipas to serve for the match....

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Post by sirfredperry Sat 16 Nov 2019, 4:19 pm

...and gets it 6-3, 6-4.

Fed just made far too many UEs and struggled to impose himself.

Reckon it will now be a Thiem-Tsitsi final, with Thiem to win.

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Post by lags72 Sat 16 Nov 2019, 5:01 pm

Even though well into the twilight years, Federer - like all high-achieving sportsmen - still hates to lose. But I would imagine he can take defeats on the chin much more readily when he knows he has put on a good show. What will frustrate him about this loss today is the fact that he was SO far below the level that saw him take down Djokovic just a day or so ago. He never really got into the match and at no point looked like winning it.

If Tsitsipas can maintain this same level for the Final - and that’s a big IF - he could certainly take the Title, and become one of the youngest-ever (??) WTF Champions.

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Post by sirfredperry Sat 16 Nov 2019, 5:24 pm

Can't help thinking that the reason you sometimes get surprise finalists at this event is that they have more to give at the end of a long season because they have played fewer matches.

We could end up with a final tomorrow between two players who won precisely nil matches at Wimbledon AND the USO this year.

The only player without a win to his name was Medvedev who, fairly recently, reached SIX successive finals.

This is not to detract from the excellence of Thiem and Tsitsipas in their wins at the O2. You could argue that Tsitsi should have been worn out by his long match against Rafa yesterday.

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Post by sirfredperry Sun 17 Nov 2019, 7:39 am

So it's Thiem v Tsitsipas to battle it out for the WTF title. Last year I predicted that Zverev would not be able to repeat his performance in the semi against Fed in the final against Djokovic. But he did.

I've not learned my lesson with Tsitsipas this year, though, and I'm going for a Thiem win today.

Such matches bring kudos and big points. But until the challengers to the Big Three start producing consistent results in the slams, the top ranking positions will remain out of reach.


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Post by Calder106 Sun 17 Nov 2019, 8:59 am

I do think that we are close to a changing of the guard. These four players (Thiem, Tsitsipas, Zverev and Medvedev) look as if they are genuine contenders to be around the top of the game for quite a few years. Thiem at 26 is the oldest but has made 2 slam finals, losing both to Nadal at Roland Garros.

As for the others it is worth remembering that when Federer at nearly 23 won Wimbledon in 2003 he had not been past the QF's in any slam before. Look what happened to him.

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Post by sirfredperry Sun 17 Nov 2019, 9:19 am

Calder - Good point about Fed at Wimbledon in 2003 although he was nearly 22, not 23.

Fed also had some years in his pomp before the arrival of, first, Rafa, and then Djoko and Murray to battle it out with.

Now the youngsters still have Rafa and Djoko to overcome while Fed, at 38, has still managed to finish third this season.


Thiem is unlikely to win the French while Rafa is still around and the Austrian hasn't got near winning any of the others.

I'm going to do a predictions-for-2020 topic soon so it will be interesting to see what everyone thinks (and to look back at what we all predicted for 2019 this time last year)

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Post by lags72 Sun 17 Nov 2019, 9:50 am

Looking forward to an entertaining clash between Thiem and Tsitsipas later. A brand new ATP Champion will emerge !

If they can both bring their A game, all the ingredients are there for a real battle.

Still puzzled by how poor Federer was in his SF after that truly stellar performance v Djokovic. The unforced error count is rather telling : in the Djoko match, Federer made six UE’s ; versus Tsitsipas, the figure was twenty six
Shocked Shocked
Perhaps it comes down to the inevitable ageing factor : at 38 he can still turn in two outstanding sets of tennis, but to do so in successive matches becomes much, much, harder than in younger days. To one degree or another, I suspect this is likely to be the pattern for however long he chooses to continue on Tour.

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Post by sirfredperry Sun 17 Nov 2019, 11:12 am

Two possible reasons that players such as Thiem, Zverev and Tsitsi can battle successfully with the big boys.

1. They're not scarred by constant defeats as the likes of Ferrer, Roddick and Stan the Man (at least against Federer) have been.

2. It's a simple fact but the big boys ARE GETTING OLDER. For all his brilliance, Fed would be defying nature if he was constantly coming out on top against the young brigade.

So you have to work out if the young guns are better than the ones who've just gone before - the likes of Dimi, Nishi, Raonic, Cilic - or are they getting better results simply due to the ageing process of the Big Three.

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Post by lags72 Sun 17 Nov 2019, 11:39 am

sirfredperry wrote:

............................

So you have to work out if the young guns are better than the ones who've just gone before - the likes of Dimi, Nishi, Raonic, Cilic - or are they getting better results simply due to the ageing process of the Big Three.

Hmm.... Interesting theories ! Really quite a conundrum.

I’m going with the former (albeit not with total conviction ...... perhaps the truth lies somewhere in the middle ?!)

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Post by sirfredperry Sun 17 Nov 2019, 6:14 pm

Castle replaced by Becker for yesterday and today. Castle is intensely annoying but Boris's fractured English is hard to bear. Sound down, I think....

Oh no. It's Castle AND Becker....

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Post by lags72 Sun 17 Nov 2019, 7:21 pm

Fabulous first set goes to Thiem on a TB - but as Henman says, such fine margins. Could have gone either way.

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Post by lags72 Sun 17 Nov 2019, 7:47 pm

Oh wow !

Tsitsipas is unfazed and comes roaring back to take the second - very swiftly - 6-2, and into a decider we go.

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Post by sirfredperry Sun 17 Nov 2019, 8:06 pm

Tsitsipas gets a break early in the third. Can he hang on? Strange second set but some good rallies in first and third sets.

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Post by sirfredperry Sun 17 Nov 2019, 8:22 pm

Just whe you thought Tsitsipas had got this he slips from 3-1 to 3-4. Much being made of Thiem's final-set record.

More relevant is the fact that, maybe, the Greek is getting tired after a gruelling schedule.

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Post by sirfredperry Sun 17 Nov 2019, 8:31 pm

Tsitsipas now serving at 4-5 to stay in the match. Thiem has looked very strong towards the end, with some terrific winners. Not a bad final at all...

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Post by lags72 Sun 17 Nov 2019, 8:46 pm

Incredible tennis. Incredible atmosphere.

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Post by sirfredperry Sun 17 Nov 2019, 8:50 pm

Tsitsipas wins after an error-strewn final tiebreak. But a terrific match...

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Post by lags72 Sun 17 Nov 2019, 9:00 pm

Big congrats to the youngest ATP Champ. clap clap

All in all, a fabulous week of tennis, concluding with the longest-ever Final.


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Post by sirfredperry Sun 17 Nov 2019, 9:05 pm

Really good final. I thought Tsitsipas had won when he broke early in the third and I reckoned Thiem would win when he broke back.

Thiem really started hitting the ball towards the end but then seemed to go almost for too much and got on the wrong end of some close calls.

The shot he'd most like back was the forehand at 4-4 in the final tiebreak when he played the ball over the baseline with the court at his mercy.

So a third "surprise" winner in a row at the O2. The Greek will be hoping that the next few months prove kinder to him than they did to Dimi in early 2018 and to Zverev in the early 2019.

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Post by sirfredperry Mon 18 Nov 2019, 8:23 am

Overall, a rather good WTF to round off the season. Not sure we can read too much into the results, given what happened in 2017 and 2018.

But certainly Tsitsipas and Thiem both had terrific victories while there were good moments for Rafa and Rog.

But if the Slams are a measure of just how good a player is - and it's as good a measure as any - then the young/younger players are still falling short.

Rog, Rafa and Novak have won all 12 of the last three years of slams. These three have taken the top three positions in the year-end rankings for the second successive year.

Thiem and Medvedev did at least reach GS finals this year. Indeed, Medvedev's amazing late-season run may have contributed to his (tiredness-induced?) losses at the O2.

Last year we were all lauding Zverev's excellence at the WTF but it didn't result in startling GS performances from the German in 2019. Likewise Dimi in 2018 after his 02 win in 2017.

So let's just wait and see what happens in 2020.

Meanwhile, Davis Cup (remember that?) starts today with a far-more-sensible formula. Andy M will be in action for GB.

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Post by sirfredperry Mon 18 Nov 2019, 10:26 am

Just to illustrate the point about relative GS performances this year, here are the Slam records of the top players:

Nadal - 25 total GS match wins
Djoko - 22
Federer 18

Thiem - 7
Tsitsipas - 8
Medvedev - 11
Zverev - 10


Thiem said last night that he expected that there would be a new GS champion in 2020. I reckon Djoko is a shoo-in for the AO while Rafa will win the French and one of the Big Three will probably take the Wimbledon crown.

Probably just leaves the 2020 USO up for grabs.

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