ATP Paris Masters 2014 Draw Preview and Analysis

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 Novak Djokovic

 

The final regular tournament of the year takes place in Paris with 1000 points up for grabs for the winner. Roger Federer still has very small hopes of the year end No.1 if he wins out this season while 6 players are still in with a chance of making the World Tour Finals.

Full Draw Here: Paris Masters 2014 Draw

Novak Djokovic is one of four players already qualified as the current No.1. The Serbian lost early last year to Sam Querrey and could face a big serving American in the round of 16 this year in John Isner. He must first make it through a match against either Philipp Kohlschreiber or Edouard Roger-Vasselin to do so. The German is 4-0 against Roger-Vasselin, dropping just 1 set – last year at the US Open. Meanwhile, Isner plays the winner of Gael Monfils and Joao Sousa. Monfils is amongst the dangerous unseeded players here after having an impressive year. 3 of his last 4 losses (Canada, Cincinnati, US Open) have come to Federer and Djokovic, all going the distance. The fourth of those losses was to Sousa, losing in Metz in straight sets.

Andy Murray virtually assured his place in London next week with an astonishing 3 set victory over Tommy Robredo in the Valencia final. For the 2nd meeting in a row, Murray saved 5 match points against the Spaniard before winning, this time in a third set tiebreak. One of those aiming to push Murray out is Grigor Dimitrov who he could meet in the third round.  Dimitrov will play either Leonardo Mayer or Pablo Cuevas in his opener. Mayer has lost 6 of his last 8, a record that includes his loss to Roger Federer in Shanghai after holding multiple match points. Cuevas hasn’t played since Shanghai when he lost to Ivan Dodig in straight sets. Meanwhile, Murray will face either Julien Benneteau or Yen-Hsun Lu. Arguably, Murray would be better off withdrawing from this tournament after 5 straight weeks of play – especially with the outcomes needed to oust him from London looking incredibly unlikely to all happen.

David Ferrer is another looking to make London but he won’t be too pleased to see one of the tour’s in-form players in his way in round two. David Goffin has had an incredible second half of the year and picked up a top 10 win in Basel on his way to the final – something that should go some way to silencing those who believe Goffin is just beating up on poor opposition with his current run. He was outclassed by Roger Federer in the final but it was another highly impressive week for the Belgian. 15th seed Gilles Simon has lost both his indoor matches this year but has generally been competent on the surface. He will be hoping it is third time lucky when he plays either Fernando Verdasco or qualifier Donald Young after his first round bye.

Kei Nishikori at No.6 looks fairly like to also qualify but will have a tough ask in his opener. He begins against Vasek Pospisil or Tommy Robredo. Pospisil is a tricky customer indoors while Robredo was a finalist in Valencia, albeit suffering a heartbreaking loss after missing match points again. Rounding off the top half of seeds is Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. The Frenchman became a  rare non-Big 4 Masters winner in Canada but it would be surprising to see him pick up a second. His last outing was a shock loss to Michal Przysiezny in Tokyo.

After winning the title in Stockholm, Berdych’s job of qualifying for London was done but it was still a surprise to see him lose so easily to Pablo Andujar in Valencia. The 6-3 6-2 loss suggests his focus may have been elsewhere. If he is in the same mood as last week, the two French wildcards he could face will see an opportunity for a run in the draw. It will be either Pierre-Hugues Herbert or Adrian Mannarino that takes on the Czech. Jerzy Janowicz was a finalist 2 years ago at this tournament but has struggled to hit the heights for much of his career since then – barring his Wimbledon semi finalist. He plays the qualifying Sam Querrey in round one. Querrey regained some much needed confidence and some cheap points after playing US Challengers but Janowicz will be a step up from those he played in the past few weeks. He will still be favoured to win this and could make a deep with his placing here. Feliciano Lopez will be the seeded opponent for the winner in round two.

Kevin Anderson gave Andy Murray a tough match in Valencia before eventually losing to the champion in the quarter finals. The 14th seed plays Mikhail Youzhny or Santiago Giraldo while Stan Wawrinka heads this quarter. Wawrinka can gain revenge over Dominic Thiem in round two if the Austrian can see off Alexandr Dolgopolov. Thiem became known to a wider audience after his stunning comeback victory over the 3rd seed in the Madrid Masters. Dolgopolov has been struggling since his return from injury but a demolition of Gilles Simon will have inspired some confidence in the Ukranian.

If Milos Raonic were to win Paris, he would be guaranteed a place in London but in theory must just better Ferrer’s result. His recent form does little to inspire with recent losses to David Goffin and Ricardas Berankis. Jack Sock is the likely R1 opponent and he can cause Raonic trouble if the Canadian is off his game, having already picked up a victory against the 7th seed in his career. A repeat is unlikely but Raonic may find he backs into the WTFs due to having one of the kinder first two rounds in the draw. Roberto Bautista Agut will play either Richard Gasquet or Denis Istomin after the first round bye.

Roger Federer hopes to end the year on an extremely high note with plenty of points up for grabs prior to the Davis Cup final. He should ease his way through the draw with big servers having the chance to be his second and third round opponents. Kenny de Schepper had an impressive qualifying victory over Andreas Seppi and will take on fellow Frenchman Jeremy Chardy. Meanwhile, Ivo Karlovic – who took a set off Federer in Basel – plays Lucas Pouille with Fabio Fognini in round two.

Prediction

SF: Novak Djokovic defeats Jo-Wilfried Tsonga

SF: Roger Federer defeats Stan Wawrinka

F: Roger Federer defeats Novak Djokovic

 

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