|Posted on October 28, 2016 at 11:10 PM|
London Contenders Shrink As Race Tightens
ATP Staff | 28 October 2016
Up to nine players could be in contention to battle for the final two spots at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals when the regular season concludes with the BNP Paribas Masters in Paris next week.
As of Friday night, with Ivo Karlovic and David Ferrer both advancing to the Erste Bank Open 500 semi-finals in Vienna, there are actually 10 players within mathematical reach of Tomas Berdych, who holds the current minimum qualification points total of 2,880. But because Ferrer and Karlovic must win the Vienna title to stay in London contention – and only one player can do that – one or both of them will be eliminated from contention before Paris begins.
Additionally, Marin Cilic, who is alive in the Basel semi-finals, could pass Berdych and raise the bar to a minimum 3,090 points required for qualification before Paris begins. Should the Croat win Basel and play at least one match in Paris (guaranteeing himself 10 points for a first-round loss), Karlovic, Ferrer and Dimitrov would be eliminated from London contention regardless of their own performances.
Ferrer would have been eliminated from London contention today had he not saved a match point against Viktor Troicki in the Vienna quarter-finals.
The battle for the two London slots is a fluid situation, where this weekend’s performances of Cilic and three Vienna semi-finalists – Karlovic, Ferrer and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga – will ultimately determine how many players will still be in London contention when Paris begins Monday. As of Friday night there are 10 players still alive in the London hunt: Dominic Thiem, Berdych, David Goffin, Cilic, Roberto Bautista Agut, Tsonga, Lucas Pouille, Grigor Dimitrov, Ferrer and Karlovic.
Thiem, currently 325 points ahead of Berdych in the Emirates ATP Race to London, will open his Paris campaign against the winner of the first-round clash between Philipp Kohlschreiber and Jack Sock. A potential third-round meeting with Richard Gasquet awaits.
Several potential third-round matches could be critical in determining who is eliminated from contention. Seventh seed Berdych could meet No. 10 seed Bautista Agut (2,340) – who as of now must reach the final to have a London shot – while No. 13 seed Pouille (2,106) will likely need to advance past World No. 2 Andy Murray in the third-round – and go on to win the title – to keep alive his hopes.
Cilic (2,770), who passed Goffin (2,690) for 10th spot in the Emirates ATP Race To London Friday, is on a third-round collision course with his Belgian rival. Cilic will square off against Karlovic or a qualifier, while Goffin plays the winner of the opening round between Nicolas Mahut and Martin Klizan. Top seed Novak Djokovic is looming as a likely quarter-final opponent in that section.
In the bottom half of the Paris draw, No. 11 seed Tsonga, who plays Karlovic in the Vienna semi-finals, could face a must-win third-round meeting with fifth seed Kei Nishikori.
As points stand October 28, Pouille, Karlovic, Ferrer and Dimitrov would need to win the Paris title just to have a chance.
Paris will also see Andy Murray continue his quest to displace Djokovic as World No. 1. Should Murray go on to win Vienna, he would overtake Djokovic if he wins Paris and the Serb does not reach the final.