The year end finals in London featured most of the top ATP players, and it was Alexander Zverev, the world #5, who came out the victor, upsetting #1 Novak Djokovic and handing him a second straight final defeat 6-4 6-3 as Zverev was dominant on serve and broke Djokovic when needed.
Zverev, who had previously complained of fatigue due to the length of the season, fell to Djokovic in his first match of the round robin portion of play, but came back to beat Marin Cilic, John Isner, and Roger Federer to reach the final without dropping a set in three nip and tuck matches. Djokovic beat Cilic, Isner, and Kevin Anderson largely thanks to a superior return game to reach the final. He’ll enter the 2019 season as the favorite for the Australian Open given his strong form to finish the year. Zverev will be hoping that the season ending tournament win will boost him in 2019.
Bryan/Sock defeated Herbert/Mahut in the doubles final
In the final full field ATP event of the season, Russia’s Karen Khachanov stunned Novak Djokovic for the biggest title of his young career.The 22 year old Khachanov defeated Djokovic 7-5 6-4 capping off a dominant week where he sailed past Filip Krajinovic, and Matt Ebden, edged John Isner in 3 sets, and then upset both Alexander Zverev and Dominic Thiem to reach the final. Khachanov had a career year in 2018 and will look ahead to 2019 to post even better results in the Grand Slams.
Djokovic beat Joao Sousa, Damir Dzumhur, Marin Cilic, and Roger Federer (in 3 sets) to reach the final, he’ll finish the season with 7 finals appearances.
Granollers/Ram defeated Rojer/Tecau in the doubles final
The second year of the ATP Next Gen Finals in Milan saw Greek #1 Stefanos Tsitipas go undefeated in round robin play defeating Frances Tiafoe, Hubert Hurkacz, and Jaume Munar. Tsitipas then defeated Andrey Rublev and finalist Alex De Minaur in competitive contests to win the title of this exhibition style event. De Minaur was the other player to go 3-0 in round robin play, defeating Taylor Fritz, Liam Caruana, and Andrey Rublev to cap off a breakthrough 2018. His matches will be highly anticipated once the Australian swing fires up in January.
Final ATP Masters Of The Season in Paris Features Federer, Nadal, and Djokovic Steen Kirby, Tennis Atlantic
The final full field ATP tournament of the season in Paris kicks off Monday as players look to either build for 2019 or finish 2018 in the best form. Here is your look at all the action from the Paris indoor Masters.
Presuming he’s fit, Rafael Nadal will be favored against Fernando Verdasco/Jeremy Chardy, Richard Gasquet should be up in the third round at home, Gasquet will be favored against Denis Shapovalov and a struggling Jack Sock. Borna Coric should also make a run, Coric takes on Daniil Medvedev or Pablo Carreno Busta, if he gets past an in-form Medvedev it’ll be Dominic Thiem or Gilles Simon/Lucas Pouille. I’ll take Coric over Simon, with Coric facing Nadal in the quarters.
Alexander Zverev has reached consecutive semifinals, he’ll be heavily favored to reach the quarters in Paris as a path of Frances Tiafoe/Nicolas Mahut, and Diego Schwartzman (or Feliciano Lopez/Alex De Minaur) on deck. Zverev has the best form of anyone in this section and he could reach the quarters without dropping a set.
John Isner takes on Pierre-Hugues Herbert or Mikhail Kukushkin, while Kyle Edmund faces Karen Khachanov/Filip Krajinovic. Khachanov is in good form and I’ll back him to emerge into the quarters defeating Krajinovic, Edmund, and Isner before falling to Zverev.
After winning Basel, Roger Federer‘s path to the quarters looks clear with Jo-Wilfried Tsonga or Milos Raonic both in poor form and first up, while Fabio Fognini should get past Marton Fucsovics/Benoit Paire before falling to Federer in round 3.
Kei Nishikori just fell to Kevin Anderson in the Vienna file and they should matchup again as Nishikori has just Adrian Mannarino/Ugo Humbert in his way while Anderson has to defeat Nikoloz Basilashvili/John Millman. I’ll take Anderson over Nishikori for a spot in the quarters.
Novak Djokovic will start against Marco Cecchinato or Joao Sousa, with Stefanos Tsitsipas likely to defeat Peter Gojowczyk/Damir Dzumhur before facing Djokovic in round 3. Djokovic defeating Tsitsipas is the smart choice from this section, though an upset is possible.
I’ll back Roberto Bautista Agut to get past Steve Johnson, Grigor Dimitrov, and Marin Cilic to reach the quarters. Cilic and Dimitrov are struggling, though Cilic should still defeat Philipp Kohlschreiber/Robin Haase in round 2.
Coric d. Nadal
Zverev d. Khachanov
Federer d. Anderson
Djokovic d. Bautista Agut
2016 ATP Paris Preview and Predictions Steen Kirby, Tennis Atlantic
The final full field tournament of 2016 takes place in Paris as the 2016 season is coming to an end. Here is a look at the field with predictions as players look to shore up their year end rankings and build momentum for next year.
BNP Paribas Masters
ATP World Tour Masters 1000
October 31-November 6, 2016
Surface: Indoor hard
Prize Money: €3,748,925
Top 8 seeds (ATP ranking in parentheses)
1: Novak Djokovic (1)
2: Andy Murray (2)
3: Stan Wawrinka (3)
4: Milos Raonic (4)
5: Kei Nisihkori (5)
6: Dominic Thiem (9)
7: Tomas Berdych (10)
8: David Goffin (11)
Rafael Nadal, Gael Monfils, Nick Kyrgios, Bernard Tomic, and Alexander Zverev are the notable players absent from the final full field tournament of the season.
First round matchups to watch:
Mischa Zverev vs. John Isner
Isner has a h2h win over Zverev indoors, but he’s been struggling while Mischa has been coming on strong. The German reached the quarters in Shanghai and the semis in Basel, stunning Stan Wawrinka at his home tournament. He also posted quarterfinals in Shenzen this fall and looks set to be an ATP regular with his serve and volley game next season. Isner has just two wins since the US Open, and I predict Zverev will ease past the big serving American.
Philipp Kohlschreiber vs. Jack Sock
Kohlschreiber is 3-2 in has last two outings, while Sock is 8-3 in his last three outings. Both players have shotmaking ability, and Sock’s forehand should win the day against the veteran German.
Pablo Carreno Busta vs. Fabio Fognini
PCB beat Fognini in a three set Moscow final and looks to be in good form. Fognini has his shot at revenge, but the Spaniard is the favorite.
Gilles Simon vs. (Q)Julien Benneteau
Benneteau has four career wins against Simon, while his French counterpart has five. In Paris these veterans will entertain the crowd as Simon has been in solid form, while Benneteau qualified and has been improving since returning from injury. Simon is the favorite, but Benny could pull an upset.
Basel semifinalist Gilles Muller should beat Nicolas Almagro to setup a match with the world #1 Djokovic, who is fighting to hang onto his year end world #1 ranking. Novak should face Grigor Dimitrov in round 3, presuming Dimitrov beats a struggling Marcos Baghdatis or Paul-Henri Mathieu. Dimitrov isn’t playing well enough to beat Djokovic right now and I see the Serbian in the quarters.
David Goffin and Marin Cilic are likely to face off in round 3 for what will possibly decide a spot in the World Tour Finals depending on how far Goffin goes after that. The Basel champion Cilic has been in better form but I have Goffin winning as he should be fresher. Cilic could also fall to Ivo Karlovic in round 2, presuming Karlovic beats Dusan Lajovic. The Croatian was a semifinalist in Vienna and would love to knock off his countryman. Goffin plays the winner of Nicolas Mahut/Martin Klizan, likely Klizan in round 2.
Stan Wawrinka could face Zverev, who knocked him off in Basel, presuming Zverev beats Isner, and David Ferrer, who left Vienna with an injury that caused him to withdrawal in the semifinals. Wawrinka will face J.L. Struff or Illya Marchenko in round 2. I have Wawrinka over Zverev, because despite their Basel meeting, Wawrinka is the better player.
Richard Gasquet may not be healthy, but he should defeat a struggling Steve Johnson or Guido Pella. Dominic Thiem will face the Sock/Kohlschreiber winner, he’s trying to lock down a spot in London so I have him beating Sock and Gasquet to reach the quarters.
Milos Raonic isn’t playing well, and I have him falling to Pablo Carreno Busta in round 2. This is a weak section of the draw as Pablo Cuevas gets a bye and faces the Benoit Paire/Paolo Lorenzi winner. I have Lorenzi vs. Carreno Busta in a surprising third rounder, as Cuevas and Paire are both struggling. PCB should prevail.
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, the finalist in Vienna, and Kei Nishikori, the finalist in Basel, look set to face off in round 3. Nishikori will face Viktor Troicki or Adrian Mannarino, while Tsonga will face Albert Ramos or Stephane Robert in round 2. Ramos and Troicki both come off of quarterfinals in Vienna, but Nishikori and Tsonga should win out, with Nishikori reaching the quarters.
Andy Murray has won his last three tournaments and should have no trouble against Fernando Verdasco or Robin Haase. Verdasco has lost four in a row and is in awful form, so Murray should beat the qualifier Haase, and then could face Lucas Pouille in round 3, presuming Pouille beats Feliciano Lopez or Pierre-Hugues Herbert. Since Lopez just beat Pouille though, I have Murray over the serve and volleyer Lopez in round 3.
Tomas Berdych will face Roberto Bautista Agut or Gilles Simon in round 3 with a London spot on the line, presuming he can break his three match losing streak and earn a win over Joao Sousa or Andreas Seppi. RBA faces the Simon/Benneteau winner in round 2, he’s been on a recent skid as well, so Simon over Berdych is my pick in round 3.
Dark Horse: Ivo Karlovic and Gilles Simon
Karlovic needs to knock off Cilic and Goffin but he could reach the quarterfinals and trouble Djokovic at that stage. Simon I favor to reach the quarters over the seeds Roberto Bautista Agut, and Tomas Berdych. The home Frenchman should perform well in Paris.
Quarters Djokovic d. Goffin
Wawrinka d. Thiem
Nishikori d. Carreno Busta
Murray d. Simon
The four ranked favorites should prevail in the quarters unless Thiem or Simon shake things up.
Semis Djokovic d. Wawrinka
Murray d. Nishikori
The world #1 and #2 look set to face off despite Wawrinka and Nishikori’s best efforts.
Final Murray d. Djokovic
Normally I’d pick Djokovic, but Murray is playing so well right now I think he’ll get an elusive win.
It was a three-peat in Paris for world #1 Novak Djokovic who captured his sixth Masters 1000 title, and tenth overall title of the season, with a routine 6-2 6-4 victory over Andy Murray, the current world #3. It’s been the year of Novak as he moves to 78-5 on the season with one tournament left to play (the World Tour Finals in London), and reached the final of every tournament he entered, save the ATP Doha tournament at the start of the season. Djokovic also reached eight Masters 1000 finals (6-2 record in those finals), and is the first player to accomplish that momentous feat.
Djokovic faced a pair of tough matches before the final, winning his quarterfinal over Tomas Berdych in a pair of tiebreaks, and defeating his rival Stan Wawrinka with a third set bagel after a pair of hard fought sets. The win over Berdych was the first time Djokovic had won an ATP match without breaking his opponents serve. He also notched routine wins over Thomaz Bellucci and Gilles Simon in his first two matches.
Murray posted his best ever result in the Paris Masters with a pair of crushing wins over Borna Coric and David Goffin, followed by a nip and tuck three set win over home Frenchman Richard Gasquet and a straight set victory over an outmatched David Ferrer. Murray is now 9-0 after the US Open against opponents other than Novak Djokovic. The Brit will be leading his country in the Davis Cup final against Goffin and Belgium in just a couple of weeks.
Ivan Dodig and Marcelo Melo stopped the World Tour Finals qualification bid of Jack Sock and Vasek Pospisil 2-6 6-3 10-5, as the veteran pairing made it three titles together on the season.
The singles players qualifying for the World Tour Finals in London are Djokovic, Murray, Roger Federer, Stan Wawrinka, Rafael Nadal, Tomas Berdych, David Ferrer, and Kei Nishikori with Richard Gasquet as the first alternate in the #9 race to London spot. The youngest player is 25 (Nishikori) and four of the eight contestants are over the age of 30.
The doubles teams qualifying are Bob and Mike Bryan, Jean-Julien Rojer/Horia Tecau, Jamie Murray/John Peers, Dodig/Melo, Simone Bolelli/Fabio Fognini, Pierre-Hugues Herbert/Nicolas Mahut, Marcin Matkowski/Nenad Zimonjic and Rohan Bopanna/Florian Mergea, with Pospisil/Sock and Bruno Soares/Alexander Peya coming up just short. Only Bolelli and Fognini are top tier ATP singles players, and the rest of the contestants are best at doubles.
2015 ATP Paris Masters Preview and Predictions Steen Kirby, Tennis Atlantic
It’s the final Masters tournament of the year, and the final ATP tournament for all but the top 8 (who have the World Tour Finals next week in London). With nothing to lose and everything to gain heading into next season, we’ll see who can put on a show in Paris, and who is ready for the season to be over. This tournament also concludes the European fall indoor swing, as the 2015 season draws to a close.
BNP Paribas Masters
ATP World Tour Masters 1000
November 2-November 8, 2015
Prize Money: €3,288,530
Top 8 seeds (top 16 seeds receive first round byes) (ATP ranking in parentheses)
1: Novak Djokovic (1)
2: Andy Murray (2)
3: Roger Federer (3)
4: Stan Wawrinka (4)
5: Tomas Berdych (5)
6: Kei Nishikori (6)
7: Rafael Nadal (7)
8: David Ferrer (8)
Only Milos Raonic and Tommy Robredo are notably missing out on this years BNP Paribas Masters in Paris.
Paire reached an ATP final (Tokyo), and a challenger final in France post US Open, and is playing some of the best tennis of his career, though he lost round 2 in Valencia. It’s been a rather forgettable year for fellow Frenchman Gael Monfils. Monfils did recently reach the semis in Vienna though and both of these crowd pleasing entertainers will have plenty of support in Paris. It’s their first ever meeting and I’m going with Paire’s good form to help him win this battle.
Fabio Fognini vs. Bernard Tomic
Fabio Fognini has continued his inconsistent play this Fall. The Italian has an ATP semifinal and an ATP quarterfinal post US Open, but was stunned by journeyman Mischa Zverev in Valencia. Tomic has crafted a solid season overall and posted a Quarterfinal in Shanghai recently, but he’s also lost three straight matches and is in the midst of a slump. Either of these guys could bomb out and lose easily, but I have Fognini finding the touch and control needed to get through this match.
Fernando Verdasco vs. Borna Coric
Two players looking for form in the final tournament of the season. Verdasco hasn’t won consecutive matches since Wimbledon as the Spanish veteran has been in a sharp decline as he ages. Coric is a rising youngster but he’s also suffered three consecutive routine defeats. Coric has a bright future ahead, while Verdasco is going to struggle to stay in the top 50 much longer, and thus I have the Croatian edging through.
Defending, and three-time Paris champ Novak Djokovic looks to be in unstoppable form at the moment. Djokovic is 72-5 this season and just one of those losses came at the hands of a non top 4 player. A winner of the US Open, and two tournaments on the Asian swing (Beijing and Shanghai), along with Masters tournaments in Indian Wells, Miami, Monte Carlo, and Rome, look for Djokovic to blitz past Thomaz Bellucci, and the Paire/Monfils winner or Gilles Simon for a spot in the quarterfinals. Bellucci opens with a slumping Teymuraz Gabashvili, while the Paire/Monfils winner faces Simon. Simon was a quarterfinalist in Stockholm and a finalist in Metz, so his good form on indoor hard, especially in France, should help him through, before Djokovic buzzsaws him.
Two former Paris champions are likely to face off for a spot in the quarterfinals. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga opens with Pierre-Hugues Herbert or Moscow and Valencia finalist Roberto Bautista Agut, while Tomas Berdych will face Ivo Karlovic or Edouard Roger-Vasselin. The home Frenchman Herbert could well upset RBA, given RBA looked exhausted in Valencia, but Metz champion and Shanghai finalist Tsonga should win out regardless of who he faces. Berdych faces the tough task of Vienna and Basel quarterfinalist Karlovic round 2. Karlovic leads Berdych 3-1 in the indoor h2h, but Berdych won in Stockholm and should ride his good form to the third round.
Both Tsonga and Berdych are in good form, but Berdych has the World Tour Finals looming next week, and thus I have Tsonga breaking their 2-2 h2h tie on indoor hard, and reaching the quarterfinals to face Djokovic. Being a home favorite should also aid his chances.
Stan Wawrinka captured the Tokyo title and has a large h2h edge over Fognini, thus I have him winning his opening match (same holds true against Tomic), and then beating Feliciano Lopez or Jack Sock for a spot in the quarterfinals. Lopez gets a bye and he was a finalist in Kuala Lumpur. The red hot Sock opens with a struggling Viktor Troicki. Sock reached the semis in Basel, a final in Stockholm, and before that the quarterfinals in Beijing, as he has boosted his ranking inside the top 30. The young American with a gifted forehand could struggle against the serve and volleyer Lopez due to fatigue however, and Lopez also has an indoor h2h win in Memphis two years ago. No matter how this tournament goes, it’s been a career best season for Jack Sock. Wawrinka is 2-1 indoors vs. Lopez.
Rafael Nadal has played surprisingly well after an early exit at the US Open. He comes off a close finals loss in Basel to Roger Federer, and reached the final in Beijing and the semis in Shanghai as well. The question is, will Rafa have anything left in the tank for Paris. We’ll find out first against either Lukas Rosol or Guillermo Garcia-Lopez, both Rosol and Garcia-Lopez are recent indoor hard court ATP quarterfinalists, but GGL is in slightly better form, and I see him winning that match before falling to Nadal. Shanghai and Vienna quarterfinalist Kevin Anderson is a step up in competition however. Big Kev will need to beat either a struggling Dominic Thiem or pedestrian Frenchman Adrian Mannarino in his first match, but I have him winning his first ever h2h meeting with Rafa after that (0-2 h2h). Nadal will want to rest up for the World Tour finals next week, and Anderson’s serve is dangerous on indoor hard courts.
Andy Murray has never made it past the quarterfinal stage in Paris, and he should be leery of the Coric/Verdasco winner in round 2, especially since Coric beat him in Dubai this year. The Shanghai semifinalist has the World Tour Finals, and the Davis Cup final coming up, and I wouldn’t blame him for making an early exit. With that said, his Davis Cup rival David Goffin would face off with him round 3, presuming Goffin can beat Nicolas Mahut/Dusan Lajovic in round 2. Goffin reached the quarterfinals in Basel so he should get to round 3, and if Murray is committed, I have Murray beating him for the quarterfinal spot.
Kei Nishikori has endured a difficult fall campaign, and doesn’t play a lot of matches on indoor hard, thus the #6 seed is susceptible to an early defeat, something one of two Frenchmen could hand him at home in round 2 as Jeremy Chardy opens with Lucas Pouille. Pouille has two ATP quarterfinals this fall (St. Petersburg and Moscow), while Chardy has one in Stockholm. Look for the young Pouille to post a bit of a breakthrough and defeat Chardy, and then upset Nishikori for a spot in the third round. I just don’t see Kei being able to give his best this week. Richard Gasquet, a Stockholm and Basel semifinalist, should be the beneficiary of the draw opening up. Gasquet needs only to defeat Metz semifinalist Martin Klizan/Leo Mayer, and then Pouille/Chardy or Nishikori to reach the quarters. Gasquet has a great draw at home he can do some damage in.
Basel champion Roger Federer also has World Tour Finals action looming, but the Swiss maestro should find his way past either Andreas Seppi or Pablo Cuevas in round 2. Cuevas reached the quarters in Valencia and Seppi is ice cold right now, so I have Cuevas winning that one and falling to Federer. John Isner should face him round 3, as Aljaz Bedene/Marcel Granollers aren’t difficult round 2 opponents. Isner posted a quarterfinal in Beijing but his pedestrian recent form suggests Federer has the upper hand and will reach the quarterfinals.
David Ferrer has taken the title in Paris before and he put together a magnificent Fall campaign to secure his place in the World Tour Finals. The Spanish veteran showed little signs of decline as he took titles in Kuala Lumpur and Vienna, along with a semifinal in Beijing. With his round 2 opponent, either Jiri Vesely or Alexandr Dolgopolov, struggling mightily, he should get through to round 3. Dolgopolov is on an atrocious seven match losing streak and isn’t healthy at the moment. Marin Cilic should pose a threat to Ferrer in the third round. Cilic has two quarterfinals, a semifinal, and an ATP title this fall as he’s been quite busy on tour. He’s likely to face a struggling Grigor Dimitrov round 2, and with Dimitrov finishing up a poor season, Cilic has the edge. I also have Cilic beating Ferrer as Ferrer has the tour finals to think about next week.
Karlovic can be lethal indoors with his huge serve and has a chance to oust both Berdych and Tsonga to get a shot at Djokovic. Coric could take advantage of Murray’s mind being elsewhere and breakthrough in the bottom half of the draw.
Quarters Djokovic d. Tsonga
Wawrinka d. Anderson
Gasquet d. Murray
Federer d. Cilic
Djokovic is surprisingly 0-4 against Tsonga on indoor hard, but given their recent meeting in Shanghai I see him moving that h2h to 1-4. Wawrinka lost to Anderson last year in Paris but I see him getting his revenge given their recent US Open meeting. Gasquet has beaten Murray in Paris before (2007), and I see him stopping him once more in the quarterfinals. Federer should be too smooth for Cilic (5-1 h2h, previous Paris win).
Semis Djokovic d. Wawrinka
Federer d. Gasquet
Federer dominates Gasquet in the h2h 15-2, and Djokovic has looked to be unstoppable as of late, thus I see them colliding in the final.
Djokovic d. Federer
With Djokovic in his current form it’s hard to see Federer being able to knock him off.