The final tournament of the season will begin on Sunday and what a tournament it should be with Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer still very close to each other in the rankings. Will Federer finish the year as the world’s number one or will the Serb hold onto that achievement instead?
It’s not very likely that the Swiss number one will be able to accomplish his task, but the good news for us is that we’ll have something to look forward to in January regardless of what’s going to happen in London, as that’s when the race is going to resume and when Federer will get yet another shot at overtaking Djokovic, but that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t be in for a grand finale next week. The new schedule means that all eight players will be well-rested for the upcoming battles, so we expect to see some stunning matches between players that certainly deserve their place in this event.
The first group features the world’s number one, Novak Djokovic, alongside Stanislas Wawrinka, Tomas Berdych, and Marin Cilic. Well, one doesn’t need to be a genius to guess that Novak Djokovic is a massive favorite to win that group, especially since he looked virtually invincible in the Paris Masters. In fact, we believe that he’s going to win the entire thing unless something unexpected happens, as the conditions suit his game and as he’s better than the rest of the field. Perhaps not by much if you look at the quality of tennis, but matches between these guys are usually decided by fine margins and it needs to be emphasized that, unlike many other guys, Djokovic rarely breaks under pressure.
Someone will qualify alongside Djokovic, however, and we believe that Tomas Berdych is the right pick if you’re looking for a bet in that particular market. Firstly, he looked quite alright in the Paris Masters, making it all the way down to the semis before losing against Milos Raonic in a very tight match. Secondly, there are some question marks about both Marin Cilic, who didn’t play in Paris due to fatigue concerns, and Stanislas Wawrinka, who’s on a pretty bad losing streak at the moment.
The second group features Roger Federer, Andy Murray, Milos Raonic, and Kei Nishikori, so we’re going to see two experienced guys going against two guys making their debuts in the ATP World Tour Finals. Milos Raonic gave a good account of himself in Paris and so did Kei Nishikori, so do Federer and Murray really deserve to be seen as the two big favorites in this group?
While we believe that they are indeed the two main favorites, we’d also say that the bookmakers are going a bit too far with their assumptions. It would be a big shock to see Federer not qualifying, that is true, but, at the same time, he certainly wasn’t untouchable over the last month or so. He might have won the Shanghai Masters, but he faced serious problems against both Leonardo Mayer and Gilles Simon, while Ivo Karlovic and Denis Istomin gave him a really good run for his money in the tournament in Basel, so that’s something that needs to be taken into account when it comes to evaluating his chances in London. He tends to do well in this tournament, but a massive favorite he definitely isn’t. He’s not at the same level as Novak Djokovic, plain and simple.
Who deserves our attention then? Well, we think that backing Kei Nishikori is the way to go in the second group. The Japanese number one seems to be much more resilient than Milos Raonic, who tends to fail in the biggest matches, just like he did in the Paris finals against Novak Djokovic. Nishikori, on the other hand, usually copes with pressure well and he can challenge everyone in the group, so perhaps he’s the guy that deserves our attention and a good pick betting-wise as well. His fitness is always a concern, but he’s not going to play every single day, which should be a big plus for him in that regard.
Novak Djokovic to win ATP World Tour Finals 2014 (Best Odds: 1.90 @ Bet365)
Tomas Berdych to qualify from Group A (Best Odds: 2.87 @ Paddy Power)
Kei Nishikori to qualify from Group B (Best Odds: 2.50 @ Paddy Power)