Ferrer Collapses (Twice) and Previewing London

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November 4, 2013 by Parveer Mann

Originally published on BackRowSports.com

I understand that it is no easy task to close out Novak Djokovic (widely considered the best returner in the game) and to do it in the final of a big tournament must be even more pressure filled. However, the inability to do it on his own serve (twice) in an eerily similar manner this past weekend at the BNP Paribas Masters is a reason why David Ferrer remains the most baffling player in the Top 10.

Ferrer doesn't look super happy with runner-up trophy. (Image available on www.newstalkzb.co.nz)

Ferrer doesn’t look super happy with runner-up trophy. (Image available on www.newstalkzb.co.nz)

At both 5-3 in the first set and 5-4 in the second, Ferrer squandered golden chances to close out sets where he was both the better player and the one with more chances. But, on those service games, he was made to hit an extra serve or shot and all those shortcomings in his game came to the surface. The fact is that they are always there in David’s game (no real big weapons, not aggressive enough) but he’s so good against the weaker fields that he can mask it and they only come to light against the Top 3 or 4. That’s the most puzzling and frustrating part of his own career, just have a look at the career numbers and the countless mid-tier tournaments to his name.

Compared to 2012

At the site of his 2012 breakthrough, you could argue that Ferrer was more impressive this week than anytime during his winning effort last year. If you remember, last’s year field in Paris-Bercy was decimated with the absence of Nadal and Federer (injuries or rest) and early losses by Djokovic and Murray. He ended up beating French journeyman Michael Llodra and one of the game’s young stars Jerzy Janowicz over the final weekend.

This week, he legitimately beat two Top 10 players including Rafa Nadal for the first time in 10 attempts and only fifth time in his career. However, those results largely remain aberrations for a player who is good enough to hang but not quite able to finish against the best and probably never will.

World Tour Finals Predictions

Group A

[1] Rafael Nadal

[3] David Ferrer

[6] Tomas Berdych

[8] Stanislas Wawrinka

After already beating Berdych earlier today in his debut, I think Stan Wawrinka is in pole position to get the second spot out of this group after Nadal. For Wawrinka, it’d be a great story if he can advance after years of being overshadowed by the other Swiss star and at the end of a season where he earned endless respect for his gutsy performances in the Grand Slams.

Group B

[2] Novak Djokovic

[5] Juan Martin Del Potro

[7] Roger Federer

[9] Richard Gasquet

I feel Novak Djokovic is the safest bet among the eight to make the final four after that it really could go anyway. A case can be made for each of Del Potro, Federer and Gasquet so I’ll go with Federer (the sentimental pick) who is coming off a big win against Del Potro in Paris and often plays his best at the World Tour finals.

Semifinals

[2] Novak Djokovic over [8] Stanislas Wawrinka

[1] Rafael Nadal over [7] Roger Federer

Finals

[2] Novak Djokovic over [1] Rafael Nadal

I’m predicting a win-win for both these players in London. Nadal will clinch year-end number one (his first since 2010) by making it at least to the semis in London and I think Djokovic will continue his recent Fall brilliance and win his third World Tour Finals title in seven years.

 

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