Honestly, there are few tournaments during the year (aside from the Slams) that I appreciate as much as the Finals. The idea of the Finals is great in and of itself. The top 8 players in the world get to fight it out across one week to prove who is in top form to end the year. Itís no single-elimination bracket. Each player has to play 3 other top 8 players no matter what. This leads to great competition and all-around high-quality tennis. The only downside to this tournament is that several of the players are often not in top form after the long season.
Roger Federer is definitely in top form entering the Finals, having won two straight tournaments in the past month. Andy Murray also has been very successful in the final stretch of the season, though he lost early in Paris, ostensibly due to injury. Murray and Federer are in different groups, but it should be interesting if they meet in the semis or the finals. The two have traded slight barbs and backhanded compliments in the few days leading up to this tournament.
The tournament is divided into two round-robin groups of 4. The top 2 in each group advance to the semifinals, where the winner of Group A will face the #2 from Group B and vice versa. If you want to check out a detailed explanation of how the top 2 are determined in case of a tie, the ATP explains it in great detail.
The draw interestingly ended up with all of the odd-numbered seeds in one group and all of the even-numbered players in the other. This means that Group A has Novak Jokovic, Andy Murray, David Ferrer, and Tomas Berdych. Ferrer is clearly the odd one out here, a clay court player in an indoor hard court. Ferrer has actually done well on this surface the past, but he is just outclassed by the other top players here, as evidenced by the fact that he lost all three of his matches here last year. Then again, he reached the final in 2007 (on a slightly different surface, granted) but he hasnít looked like he can beat the other top players in recent years.
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. As always, thoughts and opinions are welcome and requested.