Saturday, 5 November 2016

Novak likely to lose top spot

Andy Murray is just one win away from taking the number one ranking from Novak Djokovic, and it should happen in the semi finals at the Paris Masters this weekend.

Following Novak's breakthrough at Roland Garros in June, all the talk was surrounding the possibility of him grabbing a calendar year Grand Slam.  
However, since that day in Paris, it has been Murray who has dominated men's tennis.

The Scot, who was a gallant runner-up in the Roland Garros final, has subsequently:

WON     Queens Club, Wimbledon, Olympics, China Open, Shanghai Masters, Vienna
Been a Finalist at Cincinnati Masters and a Quarter Finalist at US Open

Oddly, in all that time he has not played another match against the man he is likely to replace at the top of the heap.  Hopefully we will have the chance to see that in the ATP World Tour Finals in London starting in just over a week.
This tournament will determine the year end world number one.

So how was Andy given the golden opportunity ?  Well he can thank Marin Cilic, whose great quarter final win against Djokovic prevented the Serb from defending his 2015 Paris title and importantly the 1000 ranking points it provided.

There was not much between the two as the 6-4 7-6 scoreline would suggest, but Cilic managed to create slightly more pressure with his serve, and also win the key points, something at which Djokovic has been the master for the past couple of years.
Not today though, and indeed in the second part of the season he has not presented the same level of intimidation to those about to play him.  Mentally he appears to be ever so slightly below the sharp, highly motivated Novak which, with his impeccable brand of tennis can create an aura of impregnability.  

Cilic will play John Isner in the semi final after the big serving American took three sets to eliminate compatriot Jack Sock.  This section of the draw had already seen the departure of seeds Stan Wawrinka and Dominic Thiem.

Murray defeated Tomas Berdych to reach the semi final where he will meet the winner of the Raonic v Tsonga quarter final.

While the best women have played their WTA Finals, 12 of the next level - ranked 10 to mid 20s - have been fighting out for the WTA Elite Trophy in Zhuhai, China.

Split into 4 groups, the women in each group played each other in a round robin format to determine the group winner.

The four group winners are top seed Johanna Konta, 4th seed Elina Svitolina, 12th seed Shuai Zhang and 3rd seed Petra Kvitova.  Each were undefeated in their group matches.

The semi finals will feature Konta v Svitolina and Zhang v Kvitova.

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