We are down to the last 3 tournaments in the Tennis Galaxy and while the Women wrap up the WTA season this week in Sofia, Bulgaria, the ATP has two more big titles to wrap up the 2013 season. This week all the stars in the Tennis Galaxy descend on Paris fort the ATP’s finals Masters series tournament. The stage is set for some wonderful and exciting clashes this week in the BNP Paribas Masters. We have already had some great tennis matches this week with a 3rd set tie-break ending.
Rafael Nadal’s Quarter:
Rafael Nadal kicks off his campaign with a match-up against fellow Spanish player Marcel Granollers and should Nadal win that we will have ourselves a mouth-watering clash against defending finalist Jerzy Janowicz. In a tough quarter, Nadal will have to negotiate his way through Marcell Granollers and Janowicz before a possible quarter-final date with Kei Nishikori or Richard Gasquet.
Richard Gasquet has now started hurting players [as opposed to his fans like me] with that divine backhand of his. This gifted athlete from France has everything going for him in his homeland. There is also an unwelcome guest in the form of pressure, but I believe Gasquet is bearing it well these days. [Is it too early or delusional to think of a late French Open title for this guy? Just saying]. I will pick Gasquet to avenge for his country-man Tsonga’s loss [my original pick for the final was Tsonga!]
Prediction: Nadal to make the semis with a heart-breaking [for Gasquet and his loyal fan] 3-set win over Richard Gasquet
David Ferrer’s Quarter:
David Ferrer will start off, very ironically against that player who is not very popular with a lot of Spanish sports fans, Lukas Rosol. On an Indoor court, Rosol could be a nightmare player. I will pick Ferrer to negotiate that match, but I do not like his chances in this “Quarter of Death”. I will do a coin toss and go with a Milos Raonic – David Ferrer quarterfinal match.
Prediction: Raonic to make the semis in a tough 2 set win over David Ferrer
Juan Martin Delpotro’s Quarter:
Has the Roger Federer era officially ended? With his three set win over Federer at Basel, has Juan Martin Delpotro officially put the metaphorical “period” on the Roger Federer era? It does seem like that. Roger Federer, as every resident of the Tennis Galaxy knows, is a 17-slam winner and he did not win those titles without knowing a trick or two. I will go kamikaze here and pick Federer to make the quarter-final here. A brave call these days.
Juan Martin Delpotro is statistically the best Indoor player thus far this season. His win over Federer in the Basel final was an instant classic. Even giants get tired and I think Delpotro must be feeling fatigued after his Federeresque efforts in Tokyo, Shanghai and Basel. I am going to call an upset her by either Marin Cilic or Grigor Dimitrov.
Prediction: Federer to make the semis with a tough 3 set win over Grigor Dimitrov
Novak Djokovic’s Quarter:
Novak Djokovic is in prime form right now. He is the reigning King of the Indoor Hardcourts, a title he earned when he dethroned Roger Federer in the finals of the ATP World Tour Final in London. [While we are at this, ATP : WTF is a marketing OOPS! moment. Please change the title to Tennis Masters or Year End Championships. I beseech the Great Minds at ATP that came up with WTF name]. He looked rusty in his first match in Paris, but he is experienced enough to navigate this tough path which has him playing John Isner, next. I pick the Serbian No.1 to make the quarter-finals.
Stan “Not anymore the other Swiss” Wawrinka is one of the three contenders looking to confirm their passage to London for the ill-named WTF. He has quite the challenge on his hands with a very turbulent path, to put it mildly, in front of him. He has to battle two Spanish players, just to set up a quarterfinal with Novak Djokovic. A Junior French Open Champion, Wawrinka does not deliver his best on faster Indoor Courts. I will stick with Feliciano Lopez to emerge from this quarter.
Prediction: To no one’s suprise, Novak Djokovic to get to the semi-finals with a tough 2 set win over Feliciano Lopez.
Semi-Finals and Finals
Semi-finals: Raonic over Nadal in 3 sets and Novak Djokovic in two tough sets over Roger Federer.
Champion: Novak Djokovic in 2 tough sets. [One Tie-break at least and a minimum of 10 games won for Milos Raonic]