Big two look primed for Tour ti­tle show­down

The Daily Telegraph - Sport - - Atp Tour Finals 2018 - By Ross Clarke

The ab­sence of Rafael Nadal and Juan Martin del Potro from this year’s ATP Tour Fi­nals through in­jury paves the way for a No­vak Djokovic and Roger Fed­erer show­down in the fi­nal.

Class al­ways seems to out in this tour­na­ment, de­spite it fall­ing at the end of an ar­du­ous year, with last sea­son’s de­cider be­tween Gre­gor Dim­itrov and David Gof­fin the first time this decade that at least one of the sport’s elite four play­ers – Djokovic, Fed­erer, Nadal and Andy Mur­ray – failed to make the fi­nal.

Djokovic, who has won this tour­na­ment five times, has made a re­mark­able re­turn from in­jury to re­gain the world No 1 man­tle, be­com­ing the first player since 2000 to be ranked out­side the top 20 and then climb back to the top spot in the same sea­son.

The Ser­bian is a wor­thy favourite to regis­ter an­other suc­cess in Lon­don at odds of around 4-6 and the draw has prob­a­bly been kin­der to him than Fed­erer.

Djokovic’s op­po­nents in the Gus­tavo Kuerten group are Marin Cilic, Alexan­der Zverev and John Is­ner, who all have neg­a­tive win­loss records against the top 10 in the past 12 months, and all per­formed in­con­sis­tently in in­door tour­na­ments this year.

Fed­erer is a 9-4 chance to win the tour­na­ment and has been drawn against big-serv­ing South African Kevin An­der­son, Aus­tria’s Do­minic Thiem, who in­ter­est­ingly has a win­ning 2-1 record over the Swiss su­per­star, and Kei Nishikori.

Fed­erer is at­tempt­ing to win the ATP Tour Fi­nals for the first time since 2011 and has since fin­ished run­ner-up to Djokovic on three oc­ca­sions. He has been in good form of late, win­ning an in­door ti­tle in his home coun­try last month and just los­ing out in a third-set tiebreak to Djokovic in the Paris Mas­ters last week.

Those with tick­ets to the fi­nal will prob­a­bly get their wish of a dream match-up and Fed­erer looks cer­tain to make the knock­out stages, but he could face his tough­est test in his first group match against Nishikori.

The Ja­panese is avail­able at around 20-1 and might pro­vide some value. He has a 15-5 win record in­doors this year, and, of the eight stars com­pet­ing in Lon­don, he is ranked sec­ond only to Fed­erer in the per­cent­age of ser­vice/re­turn points won on this sur­face in the past 12 months.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.