The final tournament of the regular season kicks off in Paris tomorrow with plenty to play for for some of top 10 while the likes of Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Juan Martin Del Potro have nothing to play for but pride with ATP World Tour Finals qualification ensured. The Paris Masters event has been running since 1968 and can count Stefan Edberg, Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi amongst past winners while in more recent times it has been the event that has seen more ‘shock’ winners than any other tournament. Since 2003, only twice has a member of “The Big 4″ won the event – Djokovic in 2009 and Federer in 2011. With the WTF’s next week, motivation for those already qualified is always questionable.
Check out the Full Draw Here: ATP Paris Masters 2013 Draw
Top seed Rafael Nadal (Player Profile) plays the event for the first time since 2009 where he was a semi finalist in losing to Novak Djokovic. The Spaniard has never really enjoyed playing this event but has a final to his name in 2007 although he would lose in straight sets to David Nalbandian. He has a potentially tough tie lined up in Round 3 if he can see off the winner of Marcel Granollers and Dmitry Tursunov. Tursunov has made the quarter finals at least in every indoor tournament he has played this year but has never gone further than the semis. Nadal has won all 3 matches against Tursunov and not dropped a set.
Jerzy Janowicz (Player Profile) is defending finalist points here after his dream run last year but with Nadal lined up the potential for a big drop is incoming. Janowicz held a break lead over Nadal in Montreal and troubled the Spaniard who would go on to take the title in Canada. This surface would be Janowicz’s best chance to pull off a shock a win but if Nadal comes into this tournament fully motivated then it is difficult to see him pulling it off. Janowicz would have to play the winner of wildcard Adrian Mannarino and a qualifier to make it that far. Potential qualifiers include Robin Haase, Bernard Tomic and Igor Sijsling.
The next section contains a matchup that will be vital to who qualifies for the World Tour Finals with Richard Gasquet (Player Profile) at 9th currently holding the final place in the tournament. There are easier openers than either Ernests Gulbis or Fernando Verdasco and the possibility for an upset is high, especially given Gasquet has lost to the likes of Michael Llodra and Vasek Pospisil in recent weeks. Verdasco is 3-1 against Gulbis and has always played Gasquet close – going 6-6 against him and winning 6 of the last 7.
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (Player Profile)in 10th will face his fellow Frenchman if he can defeat Kei Nishikori or Julien Benneteau in Round 2. Since losing his 9th straight final, Benneteau has gone 1-3 while Nishikori lost his last match to Ivan Dodig 6-1 6-2 in Basel. Tsonga had lost his last 2 matches against the Japanese but was a straight sets winner in Shanghai this year. Tsonga won his last meeting with Gasquet this year but it has been close between the Frenchmen overall with them splitting 8 matches.
Defending champion David Ferrer (Player Profile) should find it a fairly easy route to the quarter finals assuming he isn’t worn out from the heavy schedule has he played the past 2 months. Including this and the World Tour Finals, it will be 7 weeks in a row he has played. Lukas Rosol or Jeremy Chardy should pose little threat but Ferrer might find it tough with the projected quarter final matchups.
Gilles Simon (Player Profile) is the seed expected to play Ferrer in the third round with either Nicolas Mahut or Alexandr Dolgopolov first up. Dolgopolov’s form remains inconsistent and he may find it tough against an experienced indoor player like Mahut. Although at the Challenger level, Mahut made back-to-back finals on French indoor courts winning one and losing one. However, Mahut has lost his last 2 indoor meetings to Simon, both in straight sets.
Milos Raonic (Player Profile)will need to win the event to have any chance at all of qualifying, something that seems very unlikely despite Raonic’s credentials indoors. He is 2-0 against likely second round opponent Denis Istomin, who plays a qualifier first up.
After Tsonga-Gasquet, Raonic-Tomas Berdych (Player Profile) looks the most attractive of the projected round of 16 matches. Despite Berdych having already qualified, this tournament would offer him one of the best chances at a Masters title for the second time in his career. Berdych would have to defeat either Gael Monfils or Vasek Pospisil first up. Pospisil held a break lead over Roger Federer in the third set or Basel before falling to defeat.
The third quarter of the draw could see a repeat of the Basel final with Roger Federer (Player Profile)slated to play Juan Martin Del Potro. Federer has all but confirmed his place in the World Tour Finals but would make sure with a run to the quarter finals. Federer will play the winner of Mikhail Youzhny and Kevin Anderson in his first match. Anderson is in a poor run of form recently and looks likely to make it 0-3 against his Russian opponent. Youzhny has a slightly worse record against Federer, having lost all fifteen matches he has played against the Swiss.
Philipp Kohlschreiber could play Tommy Haas (Player Profile) for the second week running if he can defeat Andreas Seppi in round one. Seppi holds a 4-3 head to head record and also has a 2-0 advantage indoors but will be disappointed with the losses to Mikhail Kukushkin and Daniel Brands in past weeks. Kohlschreiber was the winner in Valencia last week but they have split the 6 matches played so far between them.
Del Potro (Player Profile) could well play Marin Cilic, who makes his return from a drug ban after it was reduced to four months – allowing him to play in this event. Del Potro is 7-2 against Cilic, who faces a qualifier first up, although they have never played indoors. Del Potro will be another who sees this as a great chance to win a Masters after another losing final in Asia this year.
16th seed Fabio Fognini (Player Profile) looks ripe for an upset with either Michael Llodra or Grigor Dimitrov up for him in the second round. Llodra always performs well indoors in France while Dimitrov is on a good run of form having picked up his first ATP title in Stockholm the other week.
Three of the remaining qualifiers reside in the final quarter and Novak Djokovic (Player Profile) should really make the semi finals as he searches for his third Masters title of the year. Djokovic is on a 10 match winning streak and should defeat Benoit Paire although the Frenchman could make it tough for a set. Paire meets a qualifier for a chance to play the World No.2.
Also playing a qualifier is Jarkko Nieminen, with 13th seed John Isner (Player Profile) the reward if the Finn can make it through his opener. Isner is 4-0 against Nieminen but notably, all of these were in the USA and Isner remains a different player outside of the comforts of his home country. Despite an impressive win over Ernests Gulbis in Valencia, he was then beaten by Jeremy Chardy in the very next round. Isner is one of the players who has given Djokovic a lot of trouble in the past and has won their last two meetings in tour play although Djokovic has a Davis Cup win in between.
Stanislas Wawrinka (Player Profile) saw his WTF hopes take a hit with a first round loss to Edouard Roger-Vasselin in Basel but he is still in charge of his own destiny, currently standing at 8th in the race rankings. Feliciano Lopez will play a qualifier with the winner playing Wawrinka. Lopez won their only meeting this year by a third retirement while they have split indoor meetings in the past – but have not played on the surface since 2008.
Fresh from the run that saw him making the semi finals and shocking Wawrinka in the process, Edouard Roger-Vasselin earns a Special Exempt entry to the tournament due to his inability to play qualifying as he was in the Basel semi final at the same time. It was his third semi final of the year and caps off a decent fortnight in Moscow and Basel for the Frenchman. Vasselin plays Ivan Dodig who was a quarter finalist in the same tournament, losing to Vasek Pospisil in straight sets. 12th seed Nicolas Almagro (Player Profile) will play the winner as he looks to bounce back from his fourteenth straight loss to David Ferrer in Valencia.
SF: Tomas Berdych def. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
SF: Novak Djokovic def. Juan Martin Del Potro
F: Novak Djokovic def. Tomas Berdych