Sunday, November 21, 2010

ATP: 2010 World Tour Finals

The year-end championships aka the ATP World Tour Finals strive to gather the best of the very best of tennis during the past year and they couldn't have done a better job this year. The top two spots are occupied non-shockingly by the two lone Slam winners this year, but the next fours spots funnily enough are taken up by this years Slam runner-ups. The men in this line-up also won 8 of the 9 Masters 1000 tournaments this year. All of this is to say, this field is STACKED TO THE BRIM.

And these elite eight are:

1. Rafael Nadal - The year-end world no. 1 looks to cap off his already fantastic year, which saw him win three major titles including the US Open to complete a career Grand Slam, by capturing his first WTF title.

Grand Slam Results: QF, W, W, W
Titles: Wimbledon, US Open, Roland Garros, Madrid, Rome, Monte Carlo, Tokyo
Runner-Up: Doha

2. Roger Federer - The 16-time Grand Slam champion started the year strong by winning Australia and ending the year strong by winning three straight tournaments. He's the first player to win a Grand Slam title, a Masters title, a 500-level title, and a 250-level title in the same year.

Grand Slam Results: W, QF, QF, SF
Titles: Australian Open, Cincinnati, Basel, Stockholm
Runner-Up: Shanghai, Canada, Madrid, Halle

3. Novak Djokovic - Strong and consistent showing at the majors made him this close to end the year as #2, but the lack of big wins hampered his great showing elsewhere.

Grand Slam Results: QF, QF, SF, F
Titles: Beijing, Dubai
Runner-Up: US Open, Basel

4. Robin Soderling - If there's one place he has proven himself, it's Paris. He again reached the French Open finals, beating the defending champion two years in a row. He also won his first Masters title later in the year in Paris.

Grand Slam Results: 1r, F, QF, QF
Titles: Paris, Rotterdam
Runner-Up: Roland Garros, Barcelona, Bastad

5. Andy Murray - After reaching his first Australian Open final and losing to Federer, Murray went into a funk which didn't really go away until Wimbledon. He then avenged the Australian Open loss by beating Federer later in the year twice for his only two titles of the year.

Grand Slam Results: F, 4r, SF, 3r
Titles: Shanghai, Canada
Runner-Up: Australian Open, Los Angeles

6. Tomas Berdych - Though he has failed to capture a title this year, it's been a career year for Berdych reaching his first semifinals at the French Open and beating Djokovic and defending champion Federer to reach his first final at Wimbledon. He's been a ghost of his former self since then, however.

Grand Slam Results: 2r, SF, F, 1r
Titles: -
Runner-Up: Wimbledon, Miami

7. David Ferrer - Lackluster results at the Grand Slams belie the fact that he improved greatly over his results last year when he ended the year ranked 17th. In fact it was only last month he returned in the top 10 since October 2008.

Grand Slam Results: 2r, 3r, 4r, 4r
Titles: Valencia, Acapulco
Runner-Up: Rome, Beijing, Buenos Aires

8. Andy Roddick - While his results are nothing to write home about, his consistency and longevity is to be admired. He qualified for the ATP WTF for the eight consecutive time and will end the year in the top 10 for the ninth straight year.

Grand Slam Results: QF, 3r, 4r, 2r
Titles: Miami, Brisbane
Runner-Up: Indian Wells, San Jose

If I had to predict, I'd put my money on players #2-#5 since Nadal has never really done his best here and the other three are not 100% physically. With that said, Nadal's chances were slim to none at the US Open and last year Nikolay Davydenko shocked everyone to get the biggest win of his career so ANYTHING can happen. Game on.

As for any juicy storylines, not really so much. Other than Federer and Djokovic, the rest can win their first ATP WTF title including Nadal who already has every other tennis title ever. With the top two ranking sealed up, the fight for year-end #3 (Djokovic/Murray/Soderling) is the one to pay attention to.

The tournament begins today (aka Sunday) at London's O2 Arena for the second year running.

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