Tour Finals field settled as top players progress in Paris-Bercy

The field has been set for the World Tour Finals in London after the only man outside the top eight, Janko Tipsarevic lost this third round match at Paris-Bercy.

Needing to at least make the final to remain a chance to qualify, the Serbian number two fell to Tomas Berdych 7-5 6-4 to ensure that the Czech qualified along with Jo-Wilfred Tsonga and Mardy Fish.

The final field for the season ending event, barring injury, is Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, Andy Murray, Roger Federer, David Ferrer, Berdych, Tsonga and Fish.

Six of those top eight are in the last eight of the Paris-Bercy with only Rafael Nadal, who did not play the event, and Mardy Fish not making it through to the quarters.

Fish had two match points in the second set tiebreak in his third round match against Juan Monaco before retiring early in the third set with a left adductor injury leading 6-1 6-7(6) 2-1.

Next up for the Argentinean is Roger Federer after the world number four eased past Richard Gasquet 6-2 6-4. Federer will be looking for his 800th career victory against last week’s Valencia runner up. Federer has a 3-0 record against Monaco including two victories this year and has never dropped a set against the world number 34. Continue reading

Race for London narrows with upsets at ATP Paris-Bercy

Seeds ruled for most of the day in Paris-Bercy but there were late upsets with some big consequences for the race to the World Tour Finals in London.

Nicolas Almagro, Gael Monfils and Gilles Simon were all second round losers in Paris, not only ending their campaign in Paris but there hopes of qualifying for the season ending event in London.

These results will be a relief for Mardy Fish, Tomas Berdych and Jo-Wilfred Tsonga as now only Janko Tipsarevic can qualify for London. But if all three players win their next match they will automatically qualify for London not matter how Tipsarevic performs.

Almagro went down to Andreas Seppi  6-4 7-5, Monfils went down to Feliciano Lopez 6-3 6-4 and Simon also went down in straight sets to Juan Monaco 6-4 6-0.

World number one Novak Djokovic went through to the third round after defeating Ivan Dodig 6-4 6-3. The Serbian who comes into the tournament with a shoulder injury set up a clash with compatriot Viktor Troicki after the 15th seed defeated Sergiy Stakhovsky 6-4 6-4. Troicki has lost his last nine matches against his Davis Cup team mate including three this year. His sole victory was their first meeting at Umag in 2007.

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Tsonga and Berdych one win away for London berths

Jo-Wilfred Tsonga needs to win one more match in Paris-Bercy to qualify for the World Tour Finals after the sixth seed defeated Guillermo Garica-Lopez 6-3 6-4. Next up for the Frenchman is the winner of the Nicolas Almagro-Andreas Seppi match. The ninth seed Spaniard is too looking to qualify for London.

Tomas Berdych is also just one win away from guaranteeing his place in London and the former champion defeated Fernando Verdasco 6-3 7-5. The Czech next faces the either Janko Tipsarevic, who is also after a London berth and Alex Bogomolov Jnr.

Andy Roddick won his first match in Paris, defeating Frenchman Julien Benneteau 6-4 6-4. The American will face either another Andy, Andy Murray or another Frenchman, Jeremy Chardy in the third round.  Also winning overnight was countryman John Isner after the American defeated Stanislas Wawrinka in just under three hours 6-7(3) 7-5 7-6(5). In a match dominated by serving Isner won 72% of his own but could only convert 2 of 10 break points on the Swisse’s serve. Isner will face lucky loser Igor Kunitsyn in the second round.

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Seeds slowly start action in ATP Paris-Bercy

Paris-Bercy first round action continues with most of the big names still waiting for their campaigns to begin.

 To complete the first round action Michael Llodra is up against Feliciano Lopez. The pair have a 2-2 career record with the higher ranked Spaniard winning their last meeting, this year in Rome. Also in first round action is Ivan Dodig who takes on Fabio Fognini for the first time. The winner of this match will face Novak Djokovic.

Basel finalist Kei Nishikori starts his Paris campaign up against qualifier Sergiy Stakhovsky. The Ukrainian won the pair’s only previous meeting at Roland Garros earlier this season. Also backing up for success last week, this time in Valencia, is Marcel Granollers. Granollers is drawn to face wildcard Jeremy Chardy for the first time.

Stanislas Wawrinka, fresh of his semi final defeat to Roger Federer in Basel, faces John Isner in the first round. The pair have both recorded on victory apiece in their career meetings. Completing the first round will Valencia finalist is Juan Monaco, who faces qualifier Donald Young in their first career meeting.

In second round action Tomas Berdych takes on Fernando Verdasco. Berdych needs to win to keep his World Tour Finals qualifying in his own hands. The Czech, who is currently in sixth place in the race for London, has an 8-4 record over Verdasco and has won their two meetings this year. Also looking to qualify for the season ending event is Jo-Wilfred Tsonga. The sixth seeded Frenchman faces Guillermo Garcia-Lopez, has a 3-1 record over his Spanish opponent.

Andy Roddick opens his Paris-Bercy campaign when he faces Julien Benneteau. The American has a 4-1 record for the Frenchman. Fellow Frenchman Richard Gasquet complete the days play when the sixth seed takes on Kevin Anderson. Gasquet holds a 2-0 record over the South African.

Frenchmen start well in ATP Paris-Bercy

Paris-Bercy, the last open tournament of the year, kicked off overnight night. With none of the top sixteen seeds in action (thanks to a silly bye system) most of the big names were left sitting on the sidelines.

The French had a good day with all three Frenchman in action winning through to the second round. Julien Benneteau defeated Milos Raonic 6-7(5) 7-6(5) 6-4, Nicolas Mahut was victorious over Juan Carlos Ferrero 6-2 6-3 and Adrian Mannarino eased past Dmitry Tursunov 6-2 6-2.

Fernando Verdasco set up a second round clash with Tomas Berdych after the Spaniard came from a set down to defeat Marin Cilic 3-6 6-2 6-3. Berdych needs to win this match to keep his World Tour Finals hopes alive, as does Jo-Wilfred Tsonga who faces Guillermo Garcia-Lopez after the Spaniard defeated Santiago Giraldo 6-4 1-6 6-4.

Mardy Fish, who currently holds the final eighth spot in the race for London, will face Florian Mayer in the second round after the German defeated Radek Stepanek 7-5 6-3. Also through to the second round in Andreas Seppi after the Italian knocked out Nikolay Davydenko 7-6(2) 7-5. Alex Bogomolov Jr is also through to the second round after the American came from behind to defeat Thomasz Belucci 4-6 7-6(4) 6-2.

There were also first round wins for Philipp Kohlscreiber, who defeated Mikhail Youzhny 6-4 6-2, and Kevin Anderson who overcame Gilles Muller 6-3 4-6 6-4.

Day one from Paris-Bercy

The final tournament of the season gets underway this week in Paris-Bercy and most of the top tennis players will be in action. Apart from Rafael Nadal (withdrew), Juan Martin del Potro (shoulder injury), Robin Soderling (glandular fever)and Juan Ignacio Chela are the only players inside the top 30 that are not playing the tournament.

Not only are there 1000 points on the line but the last three places for the ATP World Tour Finals will also be decided. Tomas Berdych, Jo-Wilfred Tsonga and Mardy Fish are in the box set to qualify for London but Nicolas Almagro, Janko Tipsarevic, Gilles Simon and Gael Monfils are all still outside chances to qualify. Almagro and Tipsarevic was at least make the final of the tournament and the two Frenchman must win the tournament. Even if does happen results still need to go in their favour in order to progress.

In Day One action Mikhail Youzhny takes on Philipp Kohlschreiber first on Central Court. The German leads his higher ranked opponent 6-1 including two victories this year. Up next is one of the clashes of the opening round between Marin Cilic and Fernando Verdasco, with Verdasco leading their head to head record 3-2 though they pair have not meet since early last season in Miami.

Also on centre court is the first match up between Milos Raonic and Julien Benneteau and fellow Frenchman Nicolas Mahut is also in action up against Juan Carlos Ferrero. The pair have split their previous two meetings though they have not meet since 2008. Continuing on the French theme Adrian Mannarino is also in action with the wildcard Dmitry Tursunov. Tursunov won the pair’s only prior meeting, in Paris in 2008.

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Federer and Granollers claim titles in Basel and Valencia

After a day of upsets in the semi finals of both the Basel and Valencia, both finals went the way of popular scripts.

After defeating compatriot Stansilas Warwinka, Rogere Federer cruised to victory over surprised finalist Kei Nishikori 6-1 6-3.

The victory ended Federer’s longest tournament winning drought since 2001-02 and claimed his fifth Basel title in six years. It is the fifth time that the world number four has won five titles at an individual tournament.

Coming off his semi final victory against world number one Novak Djokovic, where he defeated the Serb 2-6 7-6(4) 6-0, Nishikori was searching for his second career title in Basel, winning his maiden title in Delray Beach in 2009. Despite the loss Nishikori has risen to a career high ranking 24, eight places up from last week.

In Valencia the final was a much tighter affair with Marcel Granollers outlasted Juan Monaco 6-2 4-6 7-6(3). The Spaniard went one better than last year, when he was defeated by David Ferrer in the final, to win his third ATP career title and the second this year.

Granollers defeated four top 20 players in the tournament, Dolgopolov, Cilic, Monfils and del Potro to make it through to the final. Monaco, who defeated Ferrer in the semis, was up a break early in the third set but the Spaniard fought back to take the match in a tiebreak.

The victory moves the sixth ranked Spaniard to a career high ranking of 28 up six places.

Draw for Paris could prove the difference in the race to London

The draw is out for the final Masters 1000 event this season in Paris-Bercy and the tournament is shaping as a very interesting contest.Apart from the interest in actually winning the tournament, the race for the final three places in the World Tour Finals in London will meet its climatic end.

Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal (who is not playing in Paris for the second consecutive year), Andy Murray, Roger Federer and David Ferrer have already qualified for the season ending championships but the battle in on for the three remaining spots.

Tomas Berdych is currently in sixth spot but he is only ahead of Jo-Wilfred Tsonga by five points. Mardy Fish is also not far behind in the final eighth spot, trailing the Frenchman by 60 points. All three players could have made their places inside the top eight much more secure this week but all three went out early. Fish only managed one game in Basel before retiring with an injured left hamstring and Berdych went down in the first round falling to Kei Nishikori in three sets in Basel. Tsonga won his first round match at Valencia, defeating Spanish teenager in three sets, but could not get past Sam Querrey on the comeback trail losing in straight sets.

Just as the front-runners for the Tour Finals failed their nearest rivals have also struggled this week. Currently in ninth places Nicolas Almagro fell in the first round in Valencia to Juan Monaco in three sets. Monaco has since won through to the semi finals and will face David Ferrer next. The loss leaves the Spaniard 505 points behind Fish. Janko Tipsarevic was 10th coming into this week but coming off the back of his St Petersburg’s final but the Serb number two retired in his first round match in Basel to Florian Mayer trailing 1-5 also with a left hamstring injury. Both need to at least make the final in Paris to remain in the race.

Frenchman Gilles Simon and Gael Monfils are still outside chances to qualify for the season ending event but both need to claim the Paris title, and have still have results go their way in order for them to qualify.

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Del Potro moves one step closer to London Finals

Juan Martin del Potro has moved up to tenth place in the race to play in the ATP World Tour Finals in London after the Agrentine defeated Sam Querrery 6-2 7-5 in Valencia.

The quarter final win means that the world number 14 overtakes Janko Tipsarevic in the race and a win in his semi final will result in a move up to ninth place, relegating Nicolas Almagro. However the former US Open will still need a superior result to eighth place Mardy Fish in Paris next week as even if he wins in Valencia he will still be 195 points behind the American.

Standing in the sixth seed’s way is Spaniard Marcel Granollers after last year’s beaten finalist defeated third seed Gael Monfils 7-6(12) 3-6 6-4. The world number 34 lead 4-1 in the opening set before squandering his lead and then saving three set points in the tiebreak to take the first set tiebreaker 14-12. Granollers also served for the match a 5-3 but was broken by the world number 10, only to break back in the next game to win. The quarter final loss means that Monfils must now must the Paris-Bercy event, where he has been beaten in the last two finals, to qualify for the season ending championship in London. He is currently in 14th place.

Defending Valencia champion David Ferrer progressed to the semis of his hometown event with a 6-3 6-4 victory of Nikolay Davydenko. The world number five, who has already qualified for London is on a 14 match winning streak in Valencia. Ferrer’s win also broke a three match losing streak against the former world number three.

Ferrer will face Juan Monaco in the semi finals after the Argentinean defeated Juan Carlos Ferrero 6-3 6-3. Ferrer a two time winner in Valencia has a won the last two meetings between the pair, including the last early this season in Acapulco, but has a 3-3 record against the world number 41.

Djokovic and Federer progress to Basel semis

Novak Djokovic had to come from a set down against Marcos Baghdatis before progressing to the semi finals in Basel. The world number one defeated the world number 59 3-6 6-2 6-3. The win now extends Djokovic’s record over Baghdatis to 5-0.

Up next for the world number one is Japanese wildcard Kei Nishikori after the world number 32 defeated lucky loser Mikhail Kukushkin 6-4 5-7 6-4. It is the sixth time that Nishikori has progressed to the semi finals of an event this year.

Awaiting the winner of the Djokovic-Nishikori  semi final will be a man from Switzerland after both Roger Federer and Stanislas Wawrinka won through to the semi finals. Wawrinka defeated Florian Mayer 6-2 6-2 and Federer was too strong for Andy Roddick cruising to a 6-3 6-2 victory to set up the 11th meeting between the Davis Cup teammates, with Roger leading 9-1. It will be the fourth time that the pair have meet this year, with their most recent clash being at this year’s French Open which Federer won in straight sets. The quarter final win now gives Federer a 21-2 record over the American.