Here's a nice article on the Top 4. seemed worth posting here
Tennis Masters Cup News
Alix Ramsay | November 19 , 2004
This is almost like women's tennis. As the Masters Cup moves into the final weekend, the top four are all still here. The seedings, such as they are have worked out better than at a WTA event. The only difference is the level of interest and the level of competition.
Roger Federer has set the new standard and only the very best can try and follow him. Hewitt, Safin and Roddick are all trying to ape the maestro - attacking more, working harder, concentrating with a steely intent - and, as a result, they are moving further ahead of the rest of the field.
Safin demolished Tim Henman last night, cruising past Britain's finest 6-2, 7-6. Whoever won would reach the semi-finals and the result was never in doubt. Henman, for all that he has been proud of his form here and is completing the best year of his career, was rubbish in the first set and outplayed in the second. On the rare occasions that Safin found himself in a bit of bother, he merely upped the pressure and laid into his backhand. Some of the rallies were entertaining but there was always the impression that the Russian had so much more to give.
"Those guys, they've separated themselves," he said of the four qualifiers. "I wouldn't necessarily put Federer in the bracket of the other three because he's just been absolutely phenomenal this year. But that will change. People will improve and people won't play so well."
The problem for Henman and his ilk is that those who are improving most are in that gag of four. Hewitt is beginning to look like his old self and even he feels that the old magic is coming back. He will take on Roddick in the battle for the year-ending No.2 slot. If Hewitt beats Roddick he will still have to go on and win the title to overtake his American rival, but he reckons anything is within his reach at the moment. He came through the Red Group by walloping Gaston Gaudio 6-2, 6-1 yesterday.
"I think there's definitely been patches this year where I've played as well as I was when I was No. 1," Hewitt said. "I think the game just keeps improving. Whoever is No. 1 at the time tries to take it to a new level, and obviously that's what Roger has been doing for the last year and a half.
"That's what drives you, that's what motivates you to try and keep improving and be able to compete with the best players in the world. You know, Roger has obviously done it at the moment. Guys like Andy, myself, Marat have got to try to keep up with him and try to overtake him somehow. But I feel there's definitely been times this year when I played as well as I did in 2001, 2002."
Hewitt holds a 3-1 lead over Roddick although that one loss came this year at Queen's Club on grass. The days when he could beat Roddick with relative ease were back in Hewitt's glory days when he was the best in the world.
Safin has drawn the short straw and has to play Federer. When he was winning the Paris Masters some inquisitive soul asked if Safin, in his current and excellent form, looked forward to facing the Swiss here in Texas. Safin was aghast. Was the man mad? Did he not know how good Federer was? "Nobody wants to play Federer just now," he said.
Safin has only won one of their six previous encounters and that was on home soil - or home indoor carpet, to be precise - and he is not expecting too much from his semi-final.
"It's really difficult to bring something to the table and discuss it, there was a special plan for it," Safin said. "I played him many times, I know how to play against him. But the way he's playing and the confidence that he has right now, during this year, it's really difficult to beat him this way or other way. Just it's going to be really tough. So just we have to wait for the mistakes or wait for the opportunities that he will give you.
"But the plan is always the same. It's not going to change. I played him six times. Whatever comes, comes. Just you need to be a little bit more lucky. A little bit of luck would be great for tomorrow."
That said, Safin has one what he set out to achieve this week. He is locked in at No.4 as the season draws to a close and anything else he can pick up will merely be a bonus. When the Australian Open begins in January, the Gang of Four will be ready for battle - and no one will be able to touch them.