Paris Bercy this year has been a graveyard for seeds, especially those in the top 8. Roger Federer had withdrawn from the tournament right before it started. The Swiss maestro traveled to London a few days ago and was seen practicing a few days ago. But his fellow ATP stars soon followed him to London. Nole crashed out in his first match at Bercy in the 2nd round. Andy and Delpo soon followed with exits in the 3rd round. And in the QFs, 3 of the remaining 4 members of the top 8 also packed their bags. Berdych, Tipsarevic and Tsonga all boarded the next Eurostar out of Paris. Whether they all took this event lightly once they qualified for the World Tour Finals is a matter of debate. Perhaps they wanted to keep themselves fresh for the illustrious event in London. Or perhaps they all had horrible form in the span of 2 days, all at once. You be the judge.
With all 7 of the Top 8 in London by November 3rd, 4th seed David Ferrer was the only top 8 player who reached the Bercy SFs. The other semi-finalists were a wildcard entry, Frenchman Llodra, an unseeded French player, Simon and a qualifier that seemingly came out of nowhere (well actually he came from Poland). 6’8” Janowicz is having the run of his life. He was ranked 69th in the world before Bercy and should he win the event he will be ranked 22nd. This runaway train wasn’t stopped by Simon in the SFs who he beat in straight sets to reach the finals. On the other side of the draw, Ferrer defeated Llodra in straight sets and reached the finals as well. The Spaniard has (incredulously) never won a Masters 1000 title and in my opinion should be the favorite, given the year he has had and the wealth of talent and experience he brings to the court.
Considering there is a hole in Ferrer’s already sparkling resume by never having won a Masters 1000, it makes sense why he has been fully committed to this tournament. He was perhaps the only one out of the top 8 to do so. Hence, while his fellow stars donned sleek suits at the London Gala and celebrated reaching the pinnacle of tennis, Ferrer the ironman, was still in Paris, preparing to be the first Spaniard to win at Bercy. He will have a tough fight on his hands if red-hot Janowicz starts hitting those cross court forehands and angled dropshots with accuracy. But Ferrer is no pushover as many have found out. Just ask his most recent victim, Llodra. The man is having his best year on the ATP tour. He is tied with Federer at 6 titles already and has 71 wins compared to only 14 losses, the most wins by any player in 2012. He is here to win it and Janowicz may be in for a rude awakening when they clash in a few hours from now.
Regardless of the result however, one must wonder if the ATP will change the calendar next year. Had all the top players performed according to their seedings, 4 of them would have been missing from the ATP World Tour Final Gala held yesterday. Bercy has been relegated to almost an exhibition match despite being an ATP 1000 event. If Bercy wishes to return to its glamorous ATP 1000 status it needs to move (or London could be moved a week later). Unless of course Bercy wants to become the one Masters event every year that will give the rest of the ATP a chance to shine when the brightest stars in the galaxy temporarily go on hiatus for a week. Bercy has been interesting this year to say the least, you must give it that. Perhaps that’s not such a bad notion for the future.