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Tennis – Let’s rank ’em

So right here we’re. The ultimate ATP occasion of the season, the place the highest eight gamers on the earth go toe to toe within the World Tour Finals. Well, virtually the highest eight gamers. Neither No. 2 ranked Rafael Nadal nor No. four Juan Martin del Potro shall be in London, every shelved with accidents.

What does that imply? Well first off, congrats to Kei Nishikori and John Isner for sliding into the sector. But from a much bigger-image perspective, with out Nadal or Del Potro, it is exhausting to think about Novak Djokovic (Gustavo Kuerten group) or Roger Federer (Lleyton Hewitt group) faltering earlier than the semifinals. Federer and Djokovic have gained the occasion a mixed 11 occasions, the remainder of the sector — a mixed by no means.

This guarantees to be a aggressive, even perhaps unpredictable, ultimate week of the ATP season. But that did not cease us from supplying you with our elite eight Power Rankings/predictions. And if our rankings are any indication of the picks we made proper earlier than the WTA Finals, all we are saying is … we’ll do higher this time round.

Let’s take a look:

1. Novak Djokovic, Kuerten group
Ranking: No. 1
2018 W-L: 49-11, four titles

Djokovic is 31-11 with 5 titles on the ATP Finals. Four of these trophies got here on the present web site of the championships, the 02 Arena in London. His report since he misplaced on the Canada Masters in early August is 22-1, however that lone loss was inflicted Sunday within the ultimate of the Paris Masters. If something, the sting of the loss must get rid of any likelihood of complacency. And whereas 4 titles in 2018 may not be a thoughts-blowing quantity, Djokovic was slumpjured (slumping in addition to injured) till mid-July. Two of his 4 titles got here at Grand Slams, Wimbledon and the US Open, whereas two have been Masters 1000 occasions. He is the arms-down favourite in London.

2. Roger Federer, Hewitt group
Ranking: No. three
2018 W-L: 46-Eight, four titles

Djokovic’s total report within the second half might need been higher than Federer’s total 12 months. And there is not any query that whereas every man gained 4 titles, solely one in every of Federer’s compares to any of Djokovic’s — that was the Swiss’ win on the Australian Open. But the six-time 12 months-finish champion (55-13 total at ATP Finals) has constructed nice momentum in current weeks, profitable in Basel (his first event championship since early summer time). Federer additionally performed an excellent Paris Masters semifinal towards Djokovic simply days in the past, dropping in a 3rd-set tiebreaker. So Federer is aware of his head is within the recreation. Federer evening be 37, however he is greater than able to ending the 12 months in burst of glory.

three. Dominic Thiem, Hewitt Group
Ranking: No. Eight
2018 W-L: 53-18, three titles

2 Related

Thiem has been to London earlier than, however he did not survive the spherical robin (2-four) in two earlier journeys. But the 25-year-outdated Austrian has a a lot-improved exhausting-court docket recreation, as evidenced by his 22-Eight report and the title he earned in late September in St. Petersburg, Russia. Thiem additionally was runner-as much as Nadal on the clay on the French Open. Thiem then battled the Nadal by means of among the finest matches on the US Open, dropping an epic quarterfinal in a fifth-set tiebreaker. Strong as a bull and exhausting-working, Thiem is effectively-positioned to lastly make a run within the 12 months-enders.

four. Kevin Anderson, Hewitt group
Ranking: No. 6
2018 W-L: 45-17, 2 titles

Anderson has all the time longed to take his place among the many elites. Since the center of this 12 months, he is given the impression he has the psychological instruments and the sport to make that occur. The work he has finished with distinguished sports activities psychologist Alexis Castorri is obvious in Anderson’s rising assertiveness and focus. Those qualities helped him attain the ultimate at Wimbledon, the place he outdueled two fellow London qualifiers, John Isner and Federer, earlier than falling to Djokovic. Anderson’s current title run in Vienna shall be recent in his thoughts as he makes his 12 months-finish debut. Plus, his shut-down recreation ought to work on the indoor exhausting court docket, and with Rafa and Delpo out, who is aware of?

5. Alexander Zverev, Kuerten group
Ranking: No. 5
2018 W-L: 54-18, three titles

Zverev is the tour chief in match-wins this 12 months and tied Kei Nishikori for probably the most exhausting-court docket W’s (31). He rolled to titles on exhausting courts in addition to clay, notably the distinguished Madrid Masters 1000. Still, it is a time of transition for Zverev. He tailed off within the second half of the 12 months, dropping to gamers ranked effectively beneath him since he gained at Washington D.C. He’s additionally adjusting to a brand new teaching routine underneath the tutelage of former Andy Murray mentor, Ivan Lendl. Zverev has struggled in Grand Slams, however one of the best-of-three units and spherical-robin format (underneath which a participant can advance regardless of taking a loss) will make it simpler for him to outlive.

6. Marin Cilic, Kuerten group
Ranking: No. 7
2018 W-L: 41-18, 1 title

There are a few methods to look Cilic’s dismal 1-Eight report in his three journeys to London. It’s both nice motivation to do effectively — or proof that one thing in regards to the occasion retains Cilic out of his consolation zone. He’s all the time been surprisingly underwhelming for a giant man with a strong recreation, so it is seemingly Cilic will wrestle with having to play a collection of powerful matches towards elite gamers proper out of the blocks. But Cilic has a decent 23-11 report on exhausting courts this 12 months, and he is a former US Open champion.

7. Kei Nishikori, Hewitt Group
Ranking: No. 9
2018 W-L: 47-20, zero titles

Nishikori is an outstanding exhausting-court docket participant, as evidenced by his 31 match-wins on that floor this season. He did not win a title in 2018, however he put collectively a pleasant late-season surge that ought to spice up his confidence in London. Nishikori, now 28, is four-7 in London and a two-time semifinalist. He’ll really feel snug, however he’ll be dealing with two massive hitters and the versatile genius of Federer within the spherical-robin portion.

Eight. John Isner, Kuerten group
Ranking: No. 10
2018 W-L: 34-19, 2 titles

It’s tempting to bump Isner up greater for 2 causes: He gained the Miami Masters in March, a breakthrough event, and he is swinging freely whereas having fun with a profession 12 months. On the opposite hand, Isner has misplaced all 4 matches towards top-10 gamers because the ultimate of Miami. Plus, he solely backed into this event — his first look in a 12 months-finish finals — due to Nadal’s withdrawal. Isner gained each his 2018 titles on exhausting courts, and his report on the floor was 21-13. That monstrous serve may show to probably the most disruptive aspect on the occasion. It may not get Isner the crown, nevertheless it may turn out to be the kingmaker if he pulls off an upset in his group — and even within the semis.

Predictions

Semifinals: Djokovic def. Federer; Thiem def. Zverev

Final: Djokovic def. Thiem

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