The draw for the World Tour Finals has now been done and is as follows;
Group A (ATP World Tour Career H2H in Brackets)
(1) Novak Djokovic SRB (9-6 Murray, 9-1 Berdych , 8-6 Tsonga)
(3) Andy Murray GBR (6-9 Djokovic, 3-4 Berdych, 6-1 Tsonga)
(5) Tomas Berdych CZE (1-9 Djokovic, 4-3 Murray, 3-1 Berdych)
(7) Jo-Wilfried Tsonga FRA (6-8 Djokovic, 1-6 Murray, 1-3 Berdych)
Of the two, this definitely looks to be the “Group of Death” with the Andy Murray/Novak Djokovic tie the pick of the bunch. They face off for the seventh time this year, having split their previous six encounters. Djokovic will be the favourite to top the group especially with the head to heads all in his favour. However, the Tsonga stats are misleading with Djokovic having taken six of the last seven encounters that have been played since the start of 2011. With some of the odd remarks being made over a “Real No.1”, Djokovic will be sure to want to make a statement here and should be fully fresh with his early exit in Paris.
Despite always being considered as a threat to the top players, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga has struggled with his fellow Group A members in recent times and will find it tough to win a match here. He was just two games away from converting the head to head with Berdych to .500 only to collapse from a set and a break up in their match a few weeks back.
It will be expected that Tomas Berdych will be the one to spoil the party if either of the top two do not qualify from this group. And while he has a winning record over Andy Murray, it has to be noted that the Scot has been victorious on their last two hard encounters including the US Open semi final where Berdych will feel he could have done better.
Group B (ATP World Tour Career H2H in Brackets)
(2) Roger Federer SUI (4-0 Tipsarevic, 11-0 Ferrer, 13-3 Del Potro)
(4) David Ferrer ESP (0-11 Federer, 5-2 Del Potro, 3-1 Tipsarevic)
(6) Juan Martin Del Potro ARG (3-13 Federer, 2-5 Ferrer, 3-0 Tipsarevic)
(8) Janko Tipsarevic SRB (0-4 Federer, 1-3 Ferrer, 0-3 Del Potro)
Roger Federer will be delighted with his group, with two players that have never beaten him and another that he has routinely beat in Juan Martin Del Potro, although the Argentinian was victorious in Basel in their last encounter. He has won all 15 matches against Janko Tipsarevic and David Ferrer combined but has played each player just once this year. Despite losing to Del Potro in Basel, it is hard to argue against Federer still being the best indoors player in the world – the Argentinian is one of just two players (the other, Gael Monfils) to defeat him indoors since the start of 2010.
It is very difficult to predict Janko Tipsarevic going better than 0-3 due to his very poor record against the top players. He really should be .500 against David Ferrer though, having held a break lead in a deciding set against the Spaniard in New York. His controversial retirement in Paris, and the week before in Valencia, suggests he may have medical issues though meaning that first alternate Richard Gasquet could get a run out here. Gasquet has fared little better against the Group B participants though, going just 4-24 against them.
While many of the WTF participants withdrew or exited early from Paris, David Ferrer is still slogging away and at the time of writing is in the semi finals where he needs to defeat a wildcard (Michael Llodra) and a qualifier (Jerzy Janowicz) to take the first Masters 1000 title of his career. While there is no questioning Ferrer’s endurance, the effort exerted here while everyone is resting up can only be to his detriment and this could give a great opportunity to Juan Martin Del Potro to take advantage when he has often struggled against Ferrer – he lost 5 sets against Ferrer this year and took just 14 games.
Del Potro is playing at a high level right now, especially indoors with three indoor titles to his name and a victory over No.1 seed Roger Federer. He was surprised by an inspired Michael Llodra in Paris but can definitely end his three match losing streak against Ferrer if he plays how he has been the last few months.