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    Two big shocks in the Men's QFs at Shanghai today. Roger Federer lost to Sascha Zverev in three, but NoVak Djokovic losing in the same to Stefanos Tsitsipas tops it. In the other QFs Daniil Medvedev beat Fabio Fognini and Matteo Berrettini beat Dominic Thiem. Only Medvedev has won a Masters Series event previously of the four Semi-Finalists, and him only once and very recently. The Russian must be the favourite to add to that Cincy crown, though.
    Contrasting fortune for the British pairs on the Doubles court. J.Murray/N.Skupski beat #4 Klaasen/Venus to set up an SF against #8 Pavic/Soares, but Salisbury/Ram lost an epic to #6 Mahut/Roger-Vasselin, the deciding match breaker ending 18-16 in favour of the Frenchmen.

    Coco Gauff is making the most of her luck - a first career top ten win over Kiki Bertens (currently 8) has set up a SF against Andrea Petkovic. Gauff and McNally are also in the Doubles SF in Linz.

    Heather Watson's Semi opponent in Tianjin will be Veronika Kudermetova. None of the four Semi-Finalists here are seeds (the other two are Ons Jabeur and Rebecca Peterson). Then again neither are Gauff or Petkovic seeded in Austria!


      Watson won in straight sets. According to BBC, she has a 100% record in WTA finals so hopefully that doesn't become 75% tomorrow. Has she changed coach or spoken about anything she has changed? It feels like she has come out of the wilderness with soaring confidence.

      The youngsters took out the old guard in Shanghai. Is this the big 3 crumbling or just them losing when it doesn't matter so much? Once Australia comes around and the big 3, by then the big 4, will probably still be collecting the silverware.

      Talking of the big 4, the weakest member is going to be a daddy to 3 kids by the turn of the year. No wonder he is desperate to stay on the tour. Apparently the birth could happen anytime from next week. Does that mean Murray was doing the business with that dodgy hip around the Australian Open? Why not of course, if he could go 5 sets with Bautista Agut, I am sure he could manage a few minutes in the bedroom.


        Originally posted by multipleman78 View Post
        Watson won in straight sets. According to BBC, she has a 100% record in WTA finals so hopefully that doesn't become 75% tomorrow. Has she changed coach or spoken about anything she has changed? It feels like she has come out of the wilderness with soaring confidence.
        Heather's opponent in the final, Rebecca Peterson, also boasted a 100% record in Finals coming into the match. In the Swede's case that was only one from one previously to Watson's three from three, but Peterson's previously one was just last month. And after a 6-4 6-4 match, Watson is now down to a 75% hit rate.
        It's not a final Heather is going to remember all that fondly. Not because she played badly, in fact she was playing well with significantly more oomph on her groundstrokes than recently, presumably the consequence of the suddenly flowing confidence (which, as far as I know, is simply out of nowhere but that is how Heather rolls - all it takes is two straight wins by hook or crook and she can convince herself again that she can beat anyone), but more the result and the circumstances. The match was delayed by the weather (I assume the same typhoon that has disrupted the Rugby) and then rescheduled for the Indoor practice courts as there was no prospect of playing outside. But, of course, the practice courts have no viewing gallery. It sounded like there were 20 people watching at most, which made for an atmosphere reminiscent of a no-mark ITF match not a Tour Final. Which is a bit sad.


          I watched some of Watson's final in between while flicking between that and the rugby. As you said, the atmosphere was so flat that it actually put me off watching it. I couldn't help but feel i was watching a practice match, not a final on the main tour.

          Coco Gauff won her first tour title today. It said on the news that she was a lucky loser qualifier into the event. Does anyone know how often that has happened on either tour? Must be rare in sport that you win an event you were eliminated from. Denmark 92 in football springs to mind. I was going to say Rangers in 72 when they won the Cup Winners Cup but they were eliminated for a few minutes due to a misunderstanding of the new rules at the time so i don't think that counts.


            Tennis has produced a surprising number of cases, shown in the linked article. Interestingly, the article also suggests that the lucky loser practice used to be open to abuse (see second section):

            Last edited by Satchmo Distel; 14-10-2019, 01:09.


              Where were we at, then? Oh, right, that is a fair way behind.

              OK, so the denoument in Tianjin was covered in detail, Heather Watson losing in a final played on an indoor practice court against Rebecca Peterson. That was the Swede’s second ever WTA title and also her second of the Far East swing after also winning the title in Nanchang (bt Rybakina). Peterson actually lost the opening set of her Semi to Ons Jabeur 6-0!
              The Tianjin doubles was won by Aoyama/Shibahara, who beat countrywomen Doi/Hibino in the title match.

              And likewise we have had a mention of events in Linz, which ended with Coco Gauff winning her first ever WTA crown, topping Jelena Ostapenko in three sets in the final. Ostapenko had beaten the player who beat Gauff in qualifying, Tamara Korpatsch, in R1. Gauff won her Semi against Andrea Petkovic 6-4, 6-4 whilst Ostapenko’s hard fought last four win #8 Ekaterina Alexandrova got her to her first WTA Final since Miami 18 months ago. Gauff became the youngest player to win a title on the WTA since Nicole Vaidisova 15 years ago. Whatever happened to her? Well, retired at 21 burned out, returned at 25, retired again due to injuries aged 27, an instructive story for those handling Coco, for sure. They will be very aware, I’m certain.
              Top seeds Krejcikova/Siniakova won the Linz doubles, defeating Haas/Knoll in the final. Haas is an Austrian.

              And on the Men’s side? Well, we left it with a Shanghai semis line up of #6 Stefanos Tsitispas vs #3 Daniil Medvedev and #11 Matteo Berrettini vs #5 Sascha Zverev. For some reason I claimed only Medvedev had won a Masters Series before, which is of course utter arse – Zverev has won three of them! And I bloomin’ know that. However by prediction that Daniil would double his total was on the money, toppling Tsitsipas in two tight sets then Zverev in two more comprehensive ones (Zverev had beaten Berrettini in two in the other semi).
              We left the Doubles with J.Murray/N.Skupski preparing to play a Semi against #8 Pavic/Soares. They lost that, as did #2 Kubot/Melo in the final against the Croat/Brazilian pair.

              And then on to this week, where there are three ATP250 events going on across Europe. The biggest purse is in Moscow, but we will come to that last as it’s a joint one with the WTA. And also because for British fans, the story of the week is in Antwerp. Or stories, for let’s start with a negative one. Which doesn’t begin negatively, as 12 months ago this event provided Kyle Edmund with his first (and so far only) ATP title. He hadn’t intended to defend it, but the run of defeats he had suffered made for a very late entry into the tournament. Too late for the main draw, forcing Edmund, the defending champ, into qualifying. He was the top seed in that, but lost his first match yet again, this time to Gombos. Ouch.
              Also ouch as Edmund has lost his British No.1 spot to Dan Evans, more on whom later. Because there is another former British No.1 in action in Belgium. And a former World No.1. Andy Murray. And no past tense this week either, as Muzza (who used one of his protected rankings to enter), with wins over Kimmer Copejans (WC), #8 Pablo Cuevas and Marius Copil (Q) has taken him to the Semis. There he will play a young Frenchman, Ugo Humbert. You may remember Humbert from Wimbledon this year where he made the fourth round playing nice attacking Tennis and beating rising star Auger-Aliassime in Round 3. The other Semi is Jannik Sinner [a name I love, obviously] vs #4 Stan Wawrinka. Both entered via wild cards. The organisers would kill for a Wawrinka-Murray final.
              Rather lost in the wash is that Cameron Norrie lost in Round 1 of this, to Feliciano Lopez. He also lost in R1 of the doubles w/ Kwon. #2 Salisbury/Ram are through to the Semis, though.

              I mentioned new British No.1 Dan Evans was elsewhere. Stockholm to be precise, where he was the 8th seed for the event. Evo beat Bernard Tomic in R1, but then lost to Filip Krajinovic in R2. Krajinovic has subsequently made the Semis to be fair, alongside #5 Pablo Carreno Busta (his opponent), #4 Denis Shapovalov and Yuichi Sugita, who is getting inspired by a 15 year-old girl and going deep as a Lucky Loser.
              All Brits are out of the Stockholm doubles, which is a pity as three good pairs started. However only Inglot/Krajicek made the QFs though the others draws were tough, O’Mara/K.Skupski losing to the #3 seeds and Bambridge/McLachlan likewise to the #4. The same pair then beat Inglot/Krajicek in the last eight.

              And lastly on the Men’s side to the Kremlin Cup in Moscow. No Brits in the singles on the Men’s side, which is now at the Semi-Final stage with a line up of #6 Andrey Rublev vs #3 Marin Cilic and #7 Adrian Mannarino vs Andreas Seppi. J.Murray/N.Skupski played the doubles as the #2 seeds, but didn’t bring their Shanghai form as they lost in R1.

              As mentioned, the Kremlin Cup is also for the Women, and is a bigger deal for them as, being the sole Premier event in the final week of the season it is the last chance to earn a Tour Finals spot. Six places were already assigned prior to this week, to Ash Barty, Karolina Pliskova, Naomi Osaka, Simona Halep (if fit), Bianca Andreescu, Petra Kvitova and Elena Svitolina. Despite being over the hump, Svitolina was the top seed in Moscow. She may have not been sure of the maths that guaranteed her seventh spot and a chance to defend her Tour Champs crown when she travelled, but having got there she knew and promptly lost her opening match Veronika Kudermetova. Handy for hoping straight on a flight back to the Far East (the finals are in Shenzhen).
              That left two players competing to take the final spot from the inactive Serena Williams – Belinda Bencic and Kiki Bertens. Bertens chances disappeared today with a QF defeat against fellow Kiki, Mladenovic of that ilk. Which is a shame as it denies us a winner-takes-all encounter tomorrow between Bertens and Bencic, who is into the Semi. Serena has only played 8 tournaments this year btw to still be nearly make the world’s best 8 and definitely finish in the top ten! The other Semi is all unseeded, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova vs Karolina Muchova.
              And any Brits? Well, Jo Konta was meant to play in this, and the WTA Elite Trophy next week, but her season has been ended by a knee injury. She will finish in the top 20 even so, which is a vast improvement on a year ago. In her absence, it was a blank as no-one else went for it. To be fair, no-one else stood a realistic chance of making the main draw directly, and the qualies are a tough three round school populated by countless highly talented young Russian girls. Not good for the ego.
              The doubles final of this event is sorted. Flipkens/Mattek-Sands will play Tianjin champs Aoyama/Shibahara.

              One Brit did play the qualifiers in the International event in Luxembourg. That was Eden Silva, and she won a round before exiting in three against Niculescu. Decent enough. Silva also played the doubles main draw with Broady, but they lost in the opening round of that.
              As for general stuff, Coco Gauff was upended in R1 by #8 Anna Blinkova. And as this was the main draw this time, she doesn’t get another chance (in singles). Blinkova has since powered on to the SFs, where she will play Jelena Ostapenko, who appears to be refinding herself after a terrible spell. Ostapenko beat top seed Elise Mertens in R2. The other Semi is as seeded, #3 Elena Rybakina vs #2 Julia Goerges.
              The doubles final is also confirmed in Luxembourg, and it contains Coco Gauff! She and McNally will play Christian/Guarachi.


                Murray is starting to look pretty good. He played one bad game in the Copil match when serving for it and that allowed Copil to go on a serving burst that made the match close. Even in the tie break, Copil got a massive slice of good fortune with the ball off the net and trickling over to get him back in it. Murray was moving good and striking the ball very clean.

                That followed on from his dominant display versus Cuevas. I don't think it's going to take Murray too long to be back inside the top 100. Perhaps after the event that leads into the Australian Open.


                  Originally posted by Janik View Post
                  The organisers would kill for a Wawrinka-Murray final.
                  And indeed that is what they have got. And without leaving a trial of bodies as well. Lucky SOBs. Murray recovered from losing the opening set to beat Humbert in three, Wawrinka cruised past Sinner in two. Its Murray’s first final since spring 2017, and will be his first against Stan since they were both young bucks way back in 2008 (Murray won that match in Qatar in three). Murray won that last championship match in Dubai back in 2017. Two months later Wawrinka won the Geneva Open. That was the last title for either of them, as injuries have ravaged both.
                  There is also a Brit in the Antwerp Doubles final, as #2 Salisbury/Ram beat #4 Gille/Vliegen. They play #1 Krawietz/Mies tomorrow.

                  Over in Stockholm, the singles final will be between a player at the other end of his career from the old stags butting antlers in Antwerp: #4 Denis Shapovalov (20). This is a significant moment for the Canadian, as for all the hype around him it’s a first ever ATP Final. He’s been knocking on the door for the past two years, and is finally through. The match will produce a first-time champion as Filip Krajinovic will be on the other side of the net. The Serb has been in two ATP Tour level finals previously, one in 2017 and one earlier this year, but lost both.
                  Shapovalov beat Sugita in two to break through, whilst Krajinovic toppled #5 Carreno Busta. Oh, and something I missed yesterday on Sugita. His QF win came against Janko Tipsarevic. Getting over the line proved very difficult – Sugita finally managed it on his 10th match point, claiming a deciding set breaker 7-4. Why is this notable? Well, Tipsarevic is retiring at the end of this season. His pro career will end with the Davis Cup Final, but this was his last ATP tournament, and a good fighting conclusion it was.
                  The Doubles final in Sweden is #3 Pavic/Soares vs Kontinen/Roger-Vasselin.

                  Over in Moscow, two straight sets semis provided wins for #6 Andrey Rublev over #3 Marin Cilic and #7 Adrian Mannarino against Andreas Seppi. Rublev has one previous ATP Tour level title from three finals appearances (Umag 2017). Mannarino also has one crown to his name, at Rosmalen this year. That, however, is from eight previous championship matches. And since finally getting over the hump, he has lost in a title decider again (in Zhuhai last month).
                  The Men’s Doubles in the Russian capital has been completed #4 Demoliner/Middelkoop beating Bolelli/Molteni.

                  Why was the Moscow Men’s Doubles completed? Well, three finals in a day appears to be considered the max for a tournament. And Moscow is a combined Men’s and Women’s event, but at a higher level for the females. So their draws take effective precedence. The big match of the day (biggest for either gender, really) was the bottom half Semi. Belinda Bencic was playing for the eighth and final spot in the WTA Tour Championships. Beat Kiki Mladenovic and it was hers, lose and it went to Serena. A 6-3 set and then a 6-4 one later and Bencic could start mentally preparing for the matches ahead in China. And Serena could start to unpack her bags, as I rate the chances of her flying halfway around the world to be an alternate for an event as diddly-squat.
                  Before Bencic heads back to the Far East, she has a final to play in Russia. And against a home player as well, in the person of Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, who beat Karolina Muchova in three. Pavlyuchenkova is a few years older than the Swiss, and has won a far amount more than her opponent here. She has 12 WTA titles to her name (including winning this very event once previously) from 19 previous finals. Bencic, by contrast, has 3 crowns from 9 prior goes. However, Pavlyuchenkova is now over a year since her last winners speech, and only made her first final of the season last month in Japan (l to Osaka); Bencic won in Dubai back in February.
                  We already knew the line-up for the Kremlin Cup doubles final yesterday (#3 Flipkens/Mattek-Sands vs Aoyama/Shibahara).

                  And finally, Luxembourg. The Semis here produced wins for Jelena Ostapenko (WC) over #8 Anna Blinkova and #2 Julia Goerges against #3 Elena Rybakina. Ostapenko also got to the final last week in Linz (l to Gauff), which means she has reached a quarter of her career finals in the last fortnight. She only has two previous final wins as well. But as one of these was the French Open, she won’t be bothered about a poor strike rate. And Goerges? Well, she must be pretty happy with the defence she has made of her title. If she can go the final step, it will complete an unusual set for the German – in 2018 she won two titles, the first coming in Auckland in the opening week of the season and the later in Luxembourg in the final set of events. So far in 2019 Julia has one title to her name… from Auckland in week 1! She appears to have some favoured events here going on…
                  The Luxembourg doubles final has happened, and it’s another title for Gauff/McNally to go with their Washington success and Gauff’s singles title bow in Linz last week. As previously, they won 6-2 6-2. Neither of the young Americans has lost a WTA Final (yet).


                    A Murray run at the Australian would put him right back in the mix. Just needs to avoid the big three in the first week.


                      Bloody hell! He did it!

                      3-6 6-4 6-4


                        Fantastic result. Murray really is one dogged individual.


                          Awesome result.


                            Phrases I didn’t think I would be writing ever again… Joining Andy Murray in the ATP champions parade last week were Andrey Rublev, who claimed his second career title (and this one on home soil in Moscow) by beating Adrian Mannarino comfortably 4&0, and thereby reducing the unfortunate Frenchman’s finals record to 1-8; and Denis Shapovalov, who will always have a special place in his heart for Stockholm as his first Tour (singles) final produced his first victory as he beat Filip Krajinovic also in straight sets.
                            They were the singles winners. The Doubles crowns on the ATP side went to Demoliner/Middelkoop who beat Bolelli/Molteni in Moscow, Kontinen/Roger-Vasselin who topped Pavic/Soares in Stockholm and German pairing Krawietz/Mies who did for Salisbury/Ram in Antwerp, thereby denying a British double.

                            The Russian fans were also denied a double, and of the home variety as Belinda Bencic recovered from a slow start to make sure the Moscow final was not an after the Lord Mayor’s show affair and beat Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in three. That was Bencic’s second title of the season, and upped her seeding for the Tour Finals to #7. Pavlyuchenkova is now 0-2 in finals on the year, 1-2 in Kremlin Cup Finals but 12-6 overall. Bencic stands at 4-6 in WTA Finals, but 2-1 in 2019.
                            Over in Luxembourg, the lovely symmetry was denied as Jelena Ostapenko blew Julia Goerges away to deny the German a second successful title defence of the season. That was Ostapenko’s first title in over two years (and just her third overall; the 2017 French Open was her first!), just a week after making her first final in 18 months in Linz. Her mojo is back.
                            In doubles, I’ve already noted Gauff/McNally’s title in Luxembourg. The winners in Moscow were Aoyama/Shibahara who beat Flipkens/Mattek-Sands. That is back-to-back tour level titles for the Japanese pair. They also reached a final in the US over the summer, and seem to have found a successful combination.

                            And what of this week? Well, the end is nigh. In fact we are already post-season on the WTA, which is running it’s Elite Trophy this week. That is like a Division 2 affair behind the Tour Finals… when did that change?!?
                            Alternates for the Finals used to decide whether to play the Elite Trophy based on whether they had got a game in the big show or not. This time around Kiki Bertens and Sofia Kenin are playing the Elite Trophy as the no.1 and 2 seeds. Both won their opening pool match, as did #3 and #4 Madison Keys and Aryna Sabalenka. It’s a 12-woman draw, with four pools of three players leading to Semis and a Final. Which is a very sensible structure, if you ask me.
                            There are also two pools of three teams in the doubles of this.

                            Meanwhile things are ramping up rather than down on the ATP as the penultimate week of the regular season has two ATP500 events in Alps, in Basel and Vienna respectively.
                            Starting with the Swiss Indoors, Roger Federer is going for his third title in a row and 10th overall in an event in his home city that really is the Roger show. He has dropped just six games combined in his opening two rounds. Stan Wawrinka is a win away from joining Federer in the QFs, where the two would meet. To set that up Wawrinka needs to beat Frances Tiafoe, who beat Britain’s only representative in the singles, Dan Evans, in R1.
                            Two Brits were in the Doubles, though only the qualies for O’Mara/Lindstedt. And they lost their first game. That left just one team with Brits in it in the main draw, but J.Murray/N.Skupski are doing OK as they through to the QFs after beating a local wild-carded pair. A pair of players of light renown, and not Federer/Wawrinka or anything silly like that. Murray/Skupski will likely have a tougher challenge next up against #4 Rojer/Tecau.
                            Oh, Vienna! And oh, Kyle. Edmund lost again, his eighth straight singles defeat and seventh straight R1 exit. He did have the excuse of a tough draw this time, he was up against #3 Matteo Berrettini and as with many other of the defeats recently he won a set. But not the second one. Cameron Norrie has also been in poor form recently, and that continued as he went out in the final round of qualifying to Kohlschreiber. He did need to win to get to that stage, but just once and his defeated foe was a local wild card. Norrie was also unlucky as he had a 50/50 chance of the one lucky loser spot going courtesy of his #2 seeding in the qualies, only to see if go to the other bloke.
                            The Vienna doubles had three half-British pairs. One, Bambridge/McLachlan, were top seeds in qualifying and justified that by winning twice to make the main draw, where they have now progressed to the QFs after beating a pair of wild cards in R1 (they also beat a pair of qualifying wild cards in q1, and seem to enjoy stopping Austrian talent). Bambridge/McLachlan’s opponents in the last eight are one of the other British-tinged pairs, #4 Salisbury/Ram. They beat powerful Russians Khachanov/Rublev in R1. The third pair, Inglot/Krajicek, lost to an Argentinian combo in R1.


                              Murray ranked 127 in the ATP list and 120 in the Race To London


                                A bit late for the second one, I suspect. And of course, it's elsewhere (Milan, IIRC) from next year.


                                  Yes I'm not sure why the ATP maintains that list this late in the year.


                                    They could do away with everything outside the top 20 or so by now. But that bit matters rather a lot – it shows clearer than the rolling rankings who will need to do what in Paris next week to book their place in London. There are two spots left open at the moment in the singles, and three in doubles to be claimed.
                                    A number of those battling for the available spots have had good weeks in Vienna. Matteo Berrettini, who currently holds 8th, added a few more points by making the Semis there. Gael Monfils did the same to climb to 10th. However the biggest mover is Diego Schwartzman, whose run to the final has moved him up to 14th spot. His opponent in the title match will be home favourite Dominic Thiem.
                                    If Schwartman loses he will be 500+ points adrift of the mark needed next week, which would entail reaching the Paris final to qualify. Beat Thiem and he adds another 200 points in one go before he heads west. As for Thiem, he is looking to become just the second Austrian ever to win this event (Juergen Melzer won back-to-back titles in 2009 and 10).
                                    The Doubles final in Vienna is already underway. Joe Salisbury is the defending champion, having won it last year with Neal Skupski. And he is back in the final this year with regular partner Rajeev Ram. Indeed they currently lead top seeds Kubot/Melo by a set. That Salisbury/Ram are in the final means Bambridge/McLachlan lost in the QFs of course, as the two half-British pairs were playing each other.

                                    There was less success in Basel for those looking to bolster their positions. Sascha Zverev, who sits 7th and as such is the closest to claiming a spot alongside Nadal, Djokovic, Federer, Medvedev, Thiem and Tsitsipas (the already qualified list at the start of these events), lost in R1 to Taylor Fritz. Roberto Bautista Agut (currently 9th) got to the QFs before losing to another tall American, Reilly Opelka. David Goffin (10th) and Fabio Fognini (11th) both fell in R2 and, disappointingly, Stan Wawrinka (15th) was unable to take the court for a QF against Roger Federer after going nearly the full distance in R2 (7-5 in the third) against Frances Tiafoe in R2.
                                    The Final of this is Federer, going for his third straight title and 10th overall in his home town, against Alex de Minaur, which is a real old blood vs young gun clash. Federer beat Stefanos Tsitsipas in two in the Semis, de Minaur got past Opelka in three tie-breakers.
                                    The doubles final here is also currently underway, and features the two aforementioned lanky American serving-bots. Fritz/Opelka are currently a set down to #4 Rojer/Tecau though. Rojer/Tecau beat the British pair of J.Murray/N.Skupski in the QFs.

                                    Switching over to the WTA, the winners of the groups* at the Elite Trophy in Zhuhai were Kiki Bertens, Karolina Muchova, Zheng Saisai and Aryna Sabalenka respectively. Bertens, Muchova and Sabalenka all won both their Round Robin pool matches, but Zheng sneaked through in stupidly dramatic circumstances. The first two matches in the pool had seen Madison Keys beat Petra Martic 6-3 6-4, but then lose to Zheng 6-4 6-2. That meant Keys was out as there was no result of the Martic-Zheng match that would suit; her games difference was -1 and Tennis is a zero sum game – for every game won by one player, it’s lost by her opponent. In a Football table the overall goal difference must always sum to zero and a Tennis round robin is the same. As Key was on -1, Martic and Zheng had to be on a combined +1 and that meant even if Martic won in two sets for everyone to be 1 win, 1 loss, 2 sets won, 2 conceded that one of the two had to finish on a better games difference than Keys.
                                    In fact, Zheng’s task was simple – win seven games. Do that, and Martic, who came in effectively 7-12, would be on 19-19 to Zheng’s 19-18. The first set went to the Croat 6-4. So Zheng needed three in set two. And she got… three! It ended 6-3. Which must have made for a weird end, as the game where she got over the hump would have lead to celebration, but it wasn’t the end of the match. Martic then won the rest to close out a hollow(ish) victory. “ish” as it was worth $80,000 and 80 ranking points. Which is some consolation.
                                    After all that Zheng was then beaten by Bertens in the Semis. Sabalenka edged past Muchova in the other Semi, and the Belorussian then beat Bertens in the Final.

                                    Edit - oop, forgot to say that L.Kichenok/Klepac beat Duan/Yang Z. in the Elite trophy doubles final.

                                    * - ah yes, the group names. Azalea, Camellia, Orchid and Rose. Which reminds me...
                                    Last edited by Janik; 27-10-2019, 11:40.


                                      Joe Salisbury just retained his Vienna title. w/ Ram this time of course. 6-4 6-75 [10-5]. Literally just now.
                                      Rojer/Tecau also won the Doubles in Basel whilst I was typing up the above post.


                                        On to this week, and two huge events, one with wider significance than the other. That is the WTA Finals. This has the biggest per player prize pot in Tennis history. Not just Women’s Tennis, but any. The total purse is $14million. For comparison, the Men in London will be asked to spread $9million between them. Unfortunately, there is a reason why it’s so big – Sportswashing. The event is taking place in Shenzhen. Just over the border from Hong Kong. Where military manoeuvres have been taking place to intimidate the pro-democracy/human rights protestors. The WTA is arguably even more in China’s pocket than the NBA, and just like that organisation has had a past history of fighting oppression that makes that association hard to square.
                                        The two groups, called red and purple rather than the flowery names of last week, contain #1 Ash Barty, #3 Naomi Osaka, #6 Petra Kvitova and #7 Belinda Bencic and #2 Karolina Pliskova, #4 Bianca Andreescu, #5 Simona Halep and #8 Elina Svitolina respectively.
                                        Day 1 is the red group. Osaka beat Kvitova in three, Barty and Bencic are currently on court. Bencic is a set up but a break down in the second. It’s a debut match at the Tour Finals for both players.
                                        Oh, and the event will decide the year-end World No.1 for the Women. Barty, Pliskova and Osaka are in contention. However, its Barty’s to lose. Or more like to stay fit for. To encourage players to play even if their chances of making it through are gone, there is a participation fee paid and also ranking points awarded simply for taking the court in each round robin match. 125 at time (with another 125 for actually winning). 375 points, i.e. just playing all her scheduled matches, will see Barty safely home for the year-end top spot.

                                        Talking of no.1’s, Rafa Nadal will take over from Novak Djokovic as the Men’s leader regardless of results in Paris. This is because not only do the results from last year’s Paris Masters get scrubbed after this week but also the points from the 2018 Tour Finals. Which Novak made the final of and Rafa didn’t play. Why does the ATP do this? Because then the seedings for this year’s finals reflect the order of the top 8 performers for 2019 and do not take anything from 2018 into account.
                                        Such is Rafa’s points lead in 2019 to date, he will be more than 1500 ahead of Novak (and therefore assured of the year end no.1) if he wins the title in Paris.
                                        Brits in the Paris field? Two in singles. Kyle Edmund will attempt to end his losing run against a qualifier or lucky loser in R1. That could well be Cameron Norrie, as Norrie has worked his way through qualifying successfully.
                                        J.Murray/N.Skupski and Salisbury/Ram play in the Doubles. Neither are seeded, but seeing is done on combined rankings (meaning a brand new pair can be #1 if they happen to be #2 and #3 in the world or similar). Tour Finals qualification by contrast is done on performances as a team, and on that count Salisbury/Ram currently sit sixth in the standings. They need to stay 7th or higher, as the doubles qualification includes entry for any team that wins a Slam title and is ranked between 8th and 20th* (that got Jonny Marray in a few years back w/ Frederik Nielsen) and that rule guarantees a place for Herbert/Mahut despite their overall spot currently being 12th.
                                        Salisbury/Ram’s chances of qualifying are extremely high, as they would need a specific pairing of teams in the Paris final producing a specific result to displace them. That would be Dodig/Polasek beating Kontinen/Peers in the final match. Even so, until one of these teams is knocked out, or Slisbury/Ram have picked up enough themselves and they will not be able to relax entirely. A run to the QFs and they are assured to their spot, whatever else happens. That means beating Haase/Koolhof (OK, tricky but do-able) and then #1 Cabal/Farah (eep) or Mektic/Skugor.

                                        * - given that winning a Slam earns a team 2000 points, and 20th spot in the order currently has less than that combined, the 8th-20th caveat seems rather spurious. A slam win, in 2019 at least, means an automatic spot.


                                          Two home victors today, Thiem taking the crown in Vienna for the first time, Federer in Basel for the tenth.

                                          That sets up the race for the final places in London thus:-
                                          7. A.Zverev - 2855
                                          8. Berrettini - 2660
                                          9. Bautista Agut - 2530
                                          10. Monfils - 2350
                                          11. Goffin - 2325
                                          12. Fognini - 2280
                                          [13. Nishikori - withdrawn from contention due to injury]
                                          14. Schwartzman - 2115
                                          15. Wawrinka - 1910
                                          16. Khachanov - 1830
                                          17. Isner - 1760
                                          18. de Minaur - 1685

                                          Winning the title in Paris is worth 1000 points. Runner-up = 600, Semis = 300, QFs = 180,, R3 = 90, R2 = 45 for de Minaur, 10 for everyone else (de Minaur is not seeded, so doesn't get a R1 bye).
                                          So everyone from Wawrinka on down would have to win the Paris title to have any chance, and I nearly left them off the list, but... Stan Wawrinka winning a Masters Series? Plausible. John Isner winning the Paris Indoor? Well, he made the final in 2016 so, again, plausible. Karen Khachanov winning the Paris Indoor? What, like he did last year you mean? That only left Alex de Minaur and however slight his chances (if Berrettini wins a match they end) it seemed a bit harsh to leave out only one of the men with a mathematical opportunity from the list.

                                          On the Brit front, Kyle Edmund and Cameron Norrie's R1 draws are out. Edmund will play Ricardas Berankis for the right to take on Diego Schwartzman in R2, whilst Norrie faces Milos Raonic with Dominic Thiem awaiting.


                                            How the hell is a round robin supposed to work when one player substitutes another? Osaka didn't play Barty today and Bertens came in in her place. But Osaka had played in the first pair of games. So now there's a table with 5 people in it who will play different numbers of games. How are they going to work that out?

                                            I cannot even begin to describe the amount of media coverage yesterday's Halep Andreescu game had in Romania. The media are still discussing the vexed question of exactly how Romanian Andreescu is and whether it's acceptable to support her against Simona


                                              Originally posted by ad hoc View Post
                                              How the hell is a round robin supposed to work when one player substitutes another? Osaka didn't play Barty today and Bertens came in in her place. But Osaka had played in the first pair of games. So now there's a table with 5 people in it who will play different numbers of games. How are they going to work that out?
                                              They just ignore that one player has played a match less, basically. It's ordered by number of wins, then number of defeats, sets won, then sets lost IIRC. Bertens can make the Semis, but only if she wins both her matches. Osaka is out of the tournament.


                                                So the 8th and final place in the ATP Finals tournament will go to either Berrettini or Monfils. It's very simple: if Monfils wins his Paris QF against Shapovalov he gets it (which would be only his 2nd ever appearance in the tournament). If Monfils doesn't win that match, then Berrettini gets his maiden appearance.

                                                A Zverev has already limped into the 7th qualifying spot so will have a chance to defend his Tour Finals title.


                                                  Monfils got blown away 2&2. Which is just so typical. :-(


                                                    Looks as if Djokovic will end up overtaking Nadal for no1 late on again. Thanks mainly to Nadal's weird inability to avoid injury at this time of year.