ATP World Tour Finals qualifying reaches its climax.
Five men retain hopes of reaching the season-ending ATP Tour Finals in London in November but there are just three berths remaining. They head to the final tournament of the regular season this week – the BNP Paribas Masters – looking for one final push for rankings points.
After the excitement of the WTA Finals there’s also an intriguing second tier WTA event in Sofia. Keep reading for our preview of all this week’s tennis action.
BNP Paribas Masters
There are two battles raging at the final tournament of the regular ATP season this week.
The world’s top two, Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer, head to Paris with both men bidding to end the season as world number one. In addition, there are still spots at next month’s Barclays ATP World Tour Finals up for grabs.
Andy Murray’s chances of reaching the O2 showpiece increased following the withdrawal of Rafael Nadal and after his tournament win in Valencia last week that lifted him up to 5th in the Race to London rankings. Murray saved five match points beating Tommy Robredo 3-6 7-6 7-6 in the longest ATP World Tour final this year.
The Scot could well face world number one Novak Djokovic in the quarter finals and the Serb returns to action after the birth of his first son, Stefan. Djokovic could reach the milestone of 600 career wins in Paris this week.
Milos Raonic’s defeat to David Goffin last week saw him slip to 10th place in the rankings and the Canadian is hoping for a good performance in Paris this week.
“I’m hoping to improve physically in the next few days,” said Raonic. “My plan in Paris is to fight until the last point. I haven’t done well there in previous years, but it has conditions that I can play well in.”
Tomas Berdych is also seeking a place at the year-end event as are Grigor Dimitrov and David Ferrer.
WTA Tournament of Champions
There’s an interesting tournament in Sofia this week. The WTA Tournament of Champions is a women’s season ending tennis tournament for players who have won one or more of the WTA International tournaments during the year but did not qualify for last week’s WTA Finals in Singapore.
Previous winners include Ana Ivanovic and Simona Halep and so it can be a great springboard for a player to make a sustained assault on the world’s top ten.
Top seed is Ekaterina Makarova although the Czech star doesn’t believe she is the woman to beat.
She said: “I don’t feel any pressure and I am not feeling myself as a favourite here. At the end this is our job – to go out there [on the court] and show our best. I am for the first time in this kind of tournament so I am really excited. “Of course I will try to play my best tennis and will see what will happen”.
Dominika Cibulkova will provide strong competition as will Andrea Petkovic and Flavia Pennetta. It may also be worth keeping an eye on the talented French star Alize Cornet in the Bulgarian capital.
You can have a bet on the BNP Paribas Masters and WTA Tournament of Champions in our tennis betting section now!