by DALE ROBERTSON
What to look for this week
• Roger Federer is trying to become the seventh player to successfully defend his ATP season-ending tournament championship. Lleyton Hewitt was the last in 2001-02. Only Ilie Nastase (1971-73) has won three in a row.
• Federer is trying to become the first player since Andre Agassi in 1999 to lead at least one serving and one return-of-serve category. Federer, who ranks in the top five in four serving categories, is first in points won returning first serves (35 percent) and ranks second in second-serve points won (57 percent).
• Andy Roddick needs 28 aces to reach 1,000 for the season. The last player to reach 1,000 was Goran Ivanisevic in 1998, when he had 1,065. The all-time single-season record is also held by Ivanisevic, with 1,477 in 1996. Pete Sampras is the only other player with more than 1,000 (1,011 in 1993).
• Marat Safin is trying to become the first Russian to win the season-ending championship. Yevgeny Kafelnikov was a finalist in 1997. Tim Henman (Great Britain) can become the first from his country to reach the final. Hewitt remains the only Australian to have won the tournament.
• Guillermo Coria or Gaston Gaudio can become the first Argentine champion since Guillermo Vilas in 1974. Carlos Moya, who lost to countryman Alex Corretja in the 1998 final, can become the third Spaniard —and the second to win in Houston. Manuel Orantes won at The Summit in 1976.
• Roddick can become the sixth American to win. Sampras and Ivan Lendl share the record for total championships with five apiece.