Six times World Tour Finals champion Roger Federer is looking to further his legacy at the event with a record seventh victory, pushing him further ahead of Ivan Lendl, Pete Sampras and Novak Djokovic. The World No.2 is the odds-on favourite to win it all with the bookmakers with Rafael Nadal the only likely contender to the crown. Federer opens the singles event during the day session on Sunday against Jack Sock, who took the final qualifying spot at No. 9.
Sock won his first Masters 1000 title to make it to London, doing so at the expense of alternates Pablo Carreno Busta and Juan Martin Del Potro. He had to play just one seed on his way to the victory, beating Lucas Pouille in the last 16. It was a fairly routine straight sets win for him in that match after coming back from the dead to beat Kyle Edmund in his opener. Coming from a set down to beat Filip Krajinovic in the final, he became the first American to win a Masters 1000 or equivalent tournament since Andy Roddick did so in 2010.
“Going into Paris I was honestly hoping to play some matches and was getting ready to regroup mentally and get ready for my off-season at home. I genuinely had no idea mathematically that I could make London after the five, six-month stretch I had there in the middle to the end of the season,” said Sock. He was 24th coming into the tournament before adding the vital 1000 points and the Paris trophy. It’s fair to say Sock, while having an explosive game, is not a figure of consistency. He was on a 5 match losing streak before things turned around in October, beginning at the Stockholm open.
Meanwhile, Federer looks to extend his 10 match winning streak with a win over Sock. Titles in Shanghai and Basel would have set him for one last throw of the dice at the year end No.1 but he declined to compete in Paris, ruling him out of contention and giving that honour to Rafael Nadal. “I’m used to it by now, playing against young guys … where I feel it is just that I cannot play 25 tournaments anymore – I mean, I can, but I don’t know what the outcome would be!” he commented in reference to the new names at the event.
Federer’s schedule saw him play just 53 matches this year but a 49-4 record saw him to 2 grand slams and three Masters 1000 wins amongst other things. Those losses came to Tommy Haas, Evgeny Donskoy, Juan Martin Del Potro and Alexander Zverev, a fellow group member. Sock has failed to win a set against Federer on all 3 occasions and it’s hard to see anything changing this time round either, even with the added confidence of a career best title and ranking place.
Prediction – Roger Federer in straight sets