I said in my tournament preview that the Finals had a different feel about them this year and it has to be said I was right. Each season there is usually one newbie and occasionally two. This year we have three players making their Tour Finals debuts and between them they have won just one match from six. Of the other players only Djokovic and Federer have played tennis befitting of the occasion in every match. The remaining three players, Murray, Warinka and Berdych have managed one decent match and one poor one.
Something else that has been lacking is an entertaining three setter. We have seen the first eight matches all decided in straight sets. At least the spectators in the evening sessions have been able to get out before public transport stops running.
We are back with Group B today and mathematically all 4 players can qualify for the semi finals.
14:00 – Nishikori v Raonic – EDIT – Raonic has pulled out of the competition. David Ferrer will play Nishikori.
14:00 – Nishikori v Ferrer
This is a very different proposition for Nishikori and I feel a little unfair. He was due to play an out of form ( as as it turned out, injured) Raonic on a slow court that put the match in his favour. Now he takes on one of the best clay courters in the world who will enjoy the slower conditions.
They have played 3 times in 2014 and Nishikori won them all. He even beat him on clay in Madrid. The most recent meeting was at the Paris Masters quarter final and Nishikori won in 3 close sets.
Ferrer will be keen to get some revenge of Nishikori and with the court being slower than it was in Paris he has a great chance. It should help Nishikori to have played two matches already but perhaps against Ferrer his wrist problem will be tested more than it might have been against Raonic.
All three of their matches this season went to 3 sets. Surely now we have a chance of seeing a match go the distance?
Ferrer has no chance to reach the semi finals as he will have played just 1 match. This means that Murray MUST beat Federer to stake a claim the second semi final place. More motivation for Nishikori? I would say so but Ferrer never gives less than 100%
Nishikori to win in 3 sets.