The last three slots for the Barclays ATP World Tour Final were finally decided after Tomas Berdych's victory over Janko Tipsarevic at Bercy. And now, with the field completely set, the tournament is building a great buzz amongst all tennis fans.
And why not! The amount of talent on display is unbelievable. Almost all styles of tennis that can exist are on show at the magnificent O2 Arena in London, a spectacular venue for the season ending showdown. You have the phenomenal Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, the hard hitting duo, debutante Mardy Fish and second time-qualifier Tomas Berdych, local favourite Andy Murray, the Spanish armada of David Ferrer and Rafael Nadal, the Swiss finesse of Roger Federer and the first man to qualify for the tournament, the tennis player of the year, Novak Djokovic.
The eight contenders are drawn into two groups. Group A will feature US, Wimbledon and Australian Open champ Djokovic. His main rival in the group will be Andy Murray. The last time the two played (in the finals of the Cincinnati Masters) Murray was up a set and a break before the World No. 1 was forced to retire with a troublesome shoulder. English fans will be certainly not be wrong to hope for a good win given the Scot's current form and the Serb's recent spate of illnesses. However, Murray should be cautious about Tomas Berdych who only last week, defeated him in the QF at Bercy. And if there is a man who can spoil a party, it is David Ferrer. The 2007 runner-up will most certainly be looking to make inroads into the top 4 and will look to go deep in conditions that may just suit him. A tricky group indeed, but the higher seeds will probably make it through.
The last time these two played in London, it was a historic first in the career on one of them. Roger Federer's five set loss to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga marked the first occasion when the 16-Slam champ had lost a match in a Grand Slam after going two sets to love up. Tsonga followed that with a remarkable demolition in the run-up to the US Open. Not surprisingly, Federer restored the balance by winning in straight sets the next two times they played. The second of those was only two days ago in Bercy, where Federer ran away with a 5-0 lead before Tsonga could even disturb the score board. To make things tougher for both these players, they are drawn with Rafael Nadal and Tomas Berdych. Berdych will be looking for a good end to the season and to carry some momentum into the next one.
Federer and Nadal will surely add one more match to their storied rivalry, albeit in the unfamiliar territory of the group stage. Unlike most of their matches, it probably would not be a winner takes all situation and therefore, we may see some different styles of tennis from what we know these two can play. This group will be the toughest to predict and certainly more exciting as well.
Looks like 2011 will end with a bang!
The Barclays ATP World Tour Finals, 20th to 27th November, 2011. Dont miss it!