Who Will Win The ATP World Tour Finals 2013?
Can Novak Djokovic finish the season winning back to back ATP World Tour Finals? With the tournament commencing in London this week, today The Sultan delivers his detailed ATP World Tour Finals betting analysis.
The penultimate tournament of the tennis season gets underway on Monday 4th November, as the top 8 ranked players on the ATP World Tour assemble for one last shot at a potential 1,500 ranking points and almost $2 million dollars. Starting in 1970 in Tokyo, this event has been held in 14 different venues, the current one being London, where the O2 Arena has hosted the event indoors since 2009.
The format consists of two groups of round-robin matches, where each player plays the others in the same group in a best of 3 set clash. The top two qualify for the semi finals, where the winner of each will play the runner up of the other group. The two winners battle it out on Monday November 11th in the final.
The 8 qualifiers are the same 8 players who reached the quarter finals of the Paris Masters 1000 event last week; a very unusual occurrence as that tournament is notorious for the top players getting knocked out early. Often, they seem to be more bothered about saving themselves for London but that's not the case this year - which means all 8 are in decent form:
ATP World Tour Finals Odds - Odds as at 5th November 2013.
The Frenchman qualifies only because of the absence through injury of Andy Murray but in my opinion, is a worthy addition to these finals. Without doubt one of the most gifted, naturally talented players that has ever played the game, Gasquet has failed to live up the prodigious talent he showed as a teenager and has only qualified once before for these finals, back in 2007. However, a wonderful 2013 which saw him start off with a title in week 1 in Doha, reach the semi final at the US Open and end with a quarter final run in the Paris Masters 1000 this week to secure the final qualifying spot, makes him a dangerous and in form opponent. His two other titles this year were both indoors (Montpellier and Moscow), so he will enjoy the conditions too.
He has the skills to beat anyone but has always lacked the fitness and mental discipline. This year, he appears to have solved both those issues but I don't think he'll be a serious contender, especially as he's drawn a very tough group which I don't see him getting out of.
Sneaked into the top 8 qualifiers for the first time in his career with a good run at the Paris Masters. Much like Gasquet, the Swiss number two (who could become Swiss number one with a good run in London!) is a hugely talented individual who has always lacked in the crucial area of mental fortitude.
Also like Gasquet, Wawrinka is now beginning to overcome this issue and is extremely consistent now, dangerous on all surfaces and a match for even Djokovic when at his best, as shown when he took the Serb to 5 sets in their US Open semi final epic. Has beaten Berdych, Murray and also Ferrer to win his one title of the year, in Oeiras, which proves that he has no one to fear - although he is on a 12 match losing streak to his friend and compatriot Mr. R. Federer! Definitely a threat and can see him qualifying out of his group for the semis but not a serious contender for the title.
Was in serious danger of not making these finals for the first time since 2001 but reaching the final of his home town tournament in Basel a couple of weeks ago helped to push him over the line. His ranking has plummeted to 8 thanks to his worst year in over a decade and time does appear to be catching up with Federer; just one title in 2013 on the grass in Halle - 2 weeks later, he was dumped out of Wimbledon in round 2. His best showing in a slam was semi finals in Australia. The only current top 10 players he's beaten this year are Del Potro and Wawrinka.
The aura that surrounds Federer is gone - no one fears him anymore. If the likes of Brands, Stakhovsky, Delbonis, Benneteau and Robredo can beat him, he can't be taken seriously as a contender in London, despite the fact he's won it 6 times, reached the final the last 3 years and was runner up in 2012. Or can he? That win over Del Potro came in Paris a couple of days ago and the form he showed in that match and for much of the semi against Djokovic, suggests he might just be peaking at the right time.
4th consecutive season at the O2 Arena but Berdych has not won a tournament all season and has only made 2 quarter finals in Grand Slams. That's largely down to Novak Djokovic, who knocked him out of Wimbledon and the Australian Open as well as defeating him in the final of Dubai. Rafa Nadal can also take credit for an average year for the Czech; he dumped Berdych out of 4 semi finals in 2013, without dropping a set! This twinned with his current poor end of season form, makes him a dodgy selection.
The courts at the O2 Arena are very slow for an indoor surface, which doesn't benefit his game and perhaps is why he's never reached the final here and made it out the group stage just once. Not a threat in my opinion, though he will fancy his chances in the weaker of the two groups.
Juan Martin Del Potro
Semi finalist last year, runner up in 2009 and will be fancied by many to win this event at the 4th attempt. The Argentine has had a solid year, taking 4 titles (Washington, Rotterdam, Tokyo, Basel) and with 2 of them on indoor courts, London will suit him. His end of season form is strong with just 2 defeats in 18 (losing the Shanghai final to Djokovic and Paris quarters to Federer), although he did look weary last week in the Masters 1000. This does mask over a poor showing at the slams, with only a semi final at Wimbledon standing out amongst very early exits.
However, he is the only player who can say they have beaten both Nadal and Djokovic in 2013 - quite a feat and one which means he's more than capable of taking the title in London, provided he can summon the energy that seemed to be waning last week. Also had his bags stolen on his way to London, which included his passport and racquets - hardly ideal preparation.........
So much more than just a clay-specialist these days, Ferrer has two titles this year (Buenos Aires and Auckland) but was runner-up in SIX other events - only one of which was on clay. He was runner-up in the tour finals in 2007 but has since failed to reach the final in 3 attempts. Whilst his current form is strong, reaching the final in Stockholm and Valencia, he lost both to lower ranked players and in my opinion, had not been playing at his very best for a number of months - until he beat Nadal to reach the final in Paris.
Ferrer's drawn in the weaker of the two groups, which includes Berdych, who he beat in Paris and Wawrinka, who he has a good winning record over - so will expect to make the semis. The only question mark will be over his fitness, having reached 3 consecutive finals and also the fact he has struggled in finals this year.
2011 Djokovic, when he ruled the tennis world with near invincibility, appears to be close to returning. After losing the final of Wimbledon and the US Open plus a 5 set thriller at the French Open semi final to Nadal, you'd forgive him if his head dropped and his season petered out. But no - he's actually finishing stronger than anyone. Back to back titles in Beijing and Shanghai (including a win over Nadal for the first time in 4 attempts this year), plus a third consecutive final in Paris, make him the one to beat in London.
Djokovic also has extra motivation to retain the title he won last year - it would snatch back the world number 1 ranking position which Nadal grabbed off him earlier this year. Let's not forget, he still has 5 titles in 2013 including the Australian Open. The one question mark could be how much the Paris final takes out of him.
Quite simply an unbelievable season whatever happens in London for the world number 1. He returned at the start of the year ranked 5 and could not have dreamed that after such a long lay off through injury, he would find form so quickly. An incredible 10 titles, 4 of them on hard courts, 2 Grand Slams (US and French Open) and just 6 losses is a massive feat for someone who, even mid-season after Wimbledon, was struggling with nasty knee problems.
But Nadal still has plenty of motivation in London, as he needs to try and match Djokovic to retain the world number one ranking and also, he has never won this event, only making the final once in 5 attempts. I put that down to the fact it's an indoor event but 2013 has seen a new, more aggressive Nadal on hard courts and his traditional weakest surface is now not an issue for him. Recent losses to Del Potro, Djokovic and Ferrer means that he's perhaps running out of steam.
What to Watch For In London
Aside from Del Potro and Berdych, there aren't any what you would call big servers at this year's finals and as the courts are very slow (unless they've been speeded up - check out how they are playing in the doubles matches which go on before each singles match) I think we'll get a fair few breaks of serve for an indoor tournament - especially with returners such as Nadal, Djokovic, Ferrer, Federer and Wawrinka around. So looking to oppose servers is a good trading tactic.
In terms of outright betting, I just think Djokovic is in imperious form right now and after being pipped at the post by Nadal and Murray at the last 3 slams, I think he's tightly wound. I've noticed him getting far more angry during matches lately than he has done in the past and I think that's partly frustration, partly desire - he wants that number one ranking back more than anything. He's almost back to 2011 levels of play and in that form, I don't think anyone bar Murray can beat him on a hard court.
Group A: Rafael Nadal, David Ferrer, Tomas Berdych, Stanislas Wawrinka.
Nadal's draw pretty much puts him straight into the semi final. Ferrer is the man in form but has he got enough left in the tank following the Paris Masters final? Two straight wins over Nadal is asking a lot. Wawrinka could easily both pull off a surprise and make the semis and if I were looking for a back-to-lay in the outright markets, I'd go with him.
Group B: Novak Djokovic, Juan Martin del Potro, Roger Federer, Richard Gasquet.
Roger Federer could be the dark horse (seems strange to give the great man that label!) to make the final. Over 2 sets, he's always got a decent chance against anyone and his form in Paris was at times, sublime - the master of old. Unfortunately for him, he's drawn in a very tough group but recent victory over Del Potro (who seems to be feeling the strain at just the wrong time) in Paris will give him great confidence.
Looking for more ATP Tour Championships betting tips? Be sure to check our ATP Tour Betting Tips Board throughout the tournament.
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