The ATP World Tour Finals have started and the first round robins are over for Group A. In the first session, 3rd seed Andy Murray, playing with home crowd support, came back from one set down to defeat 5th seed Tomas Berdych, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4. After being slightly unsure in the first set, Andy was down a break and though he fought at the end of the set, Berdych held serve. That seemed to flick on a switch inside the local favorite and he took his game up another level, while Berdych, actually became a little less aggressive. In the end, the match predictably ended with Murray as the winner.
In the evening session, Novak Djokovic faced Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, and if anybody had thought this would be a good fight (I didn’t) they were disappointed. The first set was competitive with needing a tie break to settle the score. Once Novak took the first sheet, there was no looking back for the new #1 and Tsonga had no answers for Nole’s winners except to make errors of his own. I have cited in an earlier post that Tsonga has seemed off since the summer. After earning a silver medal in the Olympics for doubles, he has seemed lost ever since. An injury forced him to opt out of Cincy and then he had a disastrous US Open crashing out in the 2nd round. He lost to Berdych in the Shanghai QFs and then lost to eventual champion Ferrer in the QFs at Paris Bercy. His body language is not very positive and I am almost sure he will lose all three matches in the round robin stage. This is not the Tsonga of a year ago and I hope he rediscovers the mojo he seems to have lost before the season starts again in 2013. Djokovic beat Tsonga 7-6(4), 6-3.
Novak currently leads in the groups standings in Group A with Murray in 2nd place as you can see in the table below.
The first matches of Group B kicks off today with 2nd seed Roger Federer, defending champion and in the World Tour Finals for an 11th consecutive year,facing 8th seed Janko Tipsarevic. In the night session 4th seed David Ferrer will square off against 6th seed Juan Martin del Potro. If Federer wins, this will be his 40th win in the World Tour Finals and he will set a new record beating Ivan Lendl who he is currently tied with at 39. Federer has a 5-0 record against Tipsarevic. Though some matches have gone close, it should be a pretty straightforward win by Roger, perhaps in straight sets. As such, the more interesting match will be between Ferrer and Delpo. Each of these two men have won back to back titles with Delpo winning in Vienna and Basel (defeating Federer) and Ferrer winning in Valencia and his first Masters 1000 trophy at Paris Bercy two days ago and currently holds the most titles won by a player this year with 7.
The match will depend largely on whether Ferrer has had enough time to recover from his Bercy run (where Delpo crashed out in the 3rd round). He is in great form but must be tired, and might want to keep himself fresh for the Davis Cup Final. I would give an edge to Delpo by the smallest of margins. But really, Ferrer could put on a great show and trip up Delpo like he has in 5 of their previous 7 meetings. The last time Delpo won against Ferrer was in 2009 when he was in truly devastating form that culminated in winning the US Open by defeating Nadal in the SFs and Federer in the final, ending his US open winning streak. Clearly this is a different Delpo and many say he hasn’t regained that level of play quite yet. But in Basel, he looked awfully close and on their 7th meeting in this year alone, after 6 defeats, Delpo beat Federer in the Swiss’ hometown to win his first Basel crown. He is riding high on confidence and might prove to be too much for Ferrer (provided David is as exhausted as I am making him out to be.)
Regardless, all questions will be laid to rest and we shall soon know if upsets are a possibility in just a few hours. So tune in and find out who surges ahead, while watching some scintillating tennis in the sleek blue courts of the O2 arena.