ATP Finals: Federer & Ferrer on fire

(Last Updated On: December 4, 2011)

Ferrer is on fire.

Outside of Roger Federer’s usually excellent play indoors, this has been a bizarre ATP World Finals, with two eye-popping results already being registered: Federer’s 6-3, 6-0 destruction of Nadal followed up by David Ferrer’s altogether shocking 6-3, 6-1 defeat of Djokovic. Let’s take nothing away from Federer, who has not lost a match since he came back from some R&R post the U.S. Open and stormed through Basel and Bercy, or Ferrer, who time and time again has proved himself to be worthy and gutsy opponent.

But Nadal losing 6-3, 6-0 to anyone is always a stunning result, even if you believe that Federer is the best player ever. Put it in context: the Spaniard entered the match with a 17-8 head-to-head record against the Swiss and had taken him down the last three times they played. Yes, Federer is a better player indoors but that does not explain how Nadal failed to hold serve once against the Swiss in the second set. If he served well, he should have been able to hold at least three times. If he returned well, he should have been able to grab at least one break. If he could grab Federer by the throat from the baseline and exhaust him with high hopping forehands, he should have been able to win a set. But frankly, Nadal is playing nowhere near as well as he was during the first eight months of the year. His uncle Toni needs to tell him to go out and rip the ball, because his backhand has become as vulnerable as Federer’s once was and he’s not able to will himself through points. If he does down to Jo Tsonga and gets knocked out of the competition before the semis, he is not going to feel great about his season, regardless of what he says in press.

Djokovic’s year has gotten way from him too, but of course nowhere near what has occurred with Nadal, as the Serbian can be very happy that he won three Slams. I do believe him when he says that little matter to him post the U.S Open and I also believe that when he was saying back in Basel that he kind of wishes that the season was over and he could rest now. Does he really want to face Federer in the poor form that he is now? That’s questionable, as how many times in two of out three sets, or let’s say in more accurately in 16 games, has he committed 33 unforced errors this year?

Probably none when he was healthy. Djokovic says that he have to raise his level by 50% to beat Janko Tipsarevic, who gave Tomas Berdych a hell of a fight in a three set loss. That’s a good call even though he owns his fellow Serbians. So if he grabs the win and Berdych does not stomp Ferrer – which is highly doubtful given the Spaniard’s level – then we will likely get a Federer-Djokovic semifinal, which would be perfect, especially given how tough Federer played Djokovic at the US Open. If Federer wants to go into next season feeling like he’s ready to grab his 17th major title at the Aussie Open, wins over Nadal and Djokovic is the recipe that he’s looking for, even if they were indoors in towo out of three sets. The Swiss is doing a much better job of dictating than he did earlier in the year and if he can serve as well and hit his backhand as sweetly in Melbourne as he has London, he really will have a chance at retaking the No. 1 ranking sometime in 2012, which for a 30-year-old, against super elite competition would be an incredible feat.

I’m just amazed at how Ferrer keeps improving given that he’s 29 and is seen as a counterpuncher: his forehand is a huge weapon; he’s now clubbing his first serve into the 120s and is a competent volleyer. Let’s not forget that his win over Djokovic was his fifth, so it’s not likely it was a fluke. I can’t see him winning the title over Federer, but I can definitely see Ferrer besting Nadal or Tsonga and reaching the final…Berdych has played fairly well too, which he should given that his game is fine fit for the thin air of the O2 Arena. He and longtime GF Lucie Safarova have split and he is now dating Czech model Ester Satorova, pictured here…Mardy Fish’s season came to an end in a three-set loss to Federer. Fish also took Nadal to three and played Tsonga tough for a set. It was fine year for the American, but I’m sure he wished he could have come into the ATP finals healthy and in better form. Happy Thanksgiving North America.



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