November 10, 2014 by Parveer Mann
Even though we just saw Kei Nishikori handily beat Andy Murray in his London debut, I still feel confident that this week’s ATP World Tour Finals could be a return to the status quo. After surprise Grand Slam winners (Stan Wawrinka and Marin Cilic) and breakthroughs by the next generation (specifically Kei Nishikori and Milos Raonic), this year may still end with the Big Four claiming the top four spots in the world.
Honestly, even this week in London seems like we have few viable title contenders and a lot of players happy with what they’ve achieved and ready for the year to be over. Not that it’s necessarily a bad thing, these eight men have achieved a lot this year and this week ultimately should be a celebration of elite tennis regardless the result.
 Novak Djokovic (H2H vs. Wawrinka 15-3, vs. Berdych 16-2, vs. Cilic 10-0)
 Stan Wawrinka (H2H vs. Djokovic 3-15, vs. Berdych 9-5, vs. Cilic 7-2)
 Tomas Berdych (H2H vs. Djokovic 2-16, vs. Wawrinka 5-9, vs. Cilic 5-4)
 Marin Cilic (H2H vs. Djokovic 0-10, vs. Wawrinka 2-7, vs. Berdych 4-5)
As Tomas Berdych put it succinctly in his press conference, we are all fighting for second. It’s not hard to notice why when Novak Djokovic towers over this group, both with his recent play (winning Paris-Bercy) and his record against everyone else in Group A (41-5!). He’ll be playing this week in London with an opportunity to clinch his third year-end number one and win consecutive World Tour Finals. For those reasons alone, I’ll take Djokovic to advance first in this group
Elsewhere, Stan Wawrinka and Marin Cilic come to London after Grand Slam breakthroughs this year but have failed to gain any real traction these past few weeks. The last member of the group, Tomas Berdych had to win and scrap until last week for his spot but he’s another member of the Top 10 that really hasn’t inspired praise to end the year. I can conceivably see all three splitting their matches and it requiring a tiebreak to determine who advances. In this case, I think Marin Cilic barely scrapes through to the semifinals.
*Urban Tennis Podcast Co-host picks Djokovic and Cilic*
 Roger Federer (H2H vs. Nishikori 2-2, vs. Murray 11-11, vs. Raonic 6-1)
 Kei Nishikori (H2H vs. Federer 2-2, vs. Murray 0-3, vs. Raonic 4-1)
 Andy Murray (H2H vs. Federer 11-11, vs. Nishikori 3-0, vs. Raonic 1-3)
 Milos Raonic (H2H vs. Federer 1-6, vs. Nishikori 1-4, vs. Murray 3-1)
This group kicked off on Sunday with convincing wins by Roger Federer and Kei Nishikori. Not only do those two have the edge to advance but it puts one of the hottest players on tour, Andy Murray behind the eight ball. Murray has been on a relentless run to simply get to London and it felt like he showed it in his opener. I still like Murray’s path to the semifinals, he faces Milos next and may face Roger Federer after he has already clinched a spot into the last four.
*Co-host picks Federer and Nishikori*
 Novak Djokovic over  Andy Murray
 Roger Federer over  Marin Cilic
*Co-host picks Djokovic over Nishikori and Federer over Cilic*
 Novak Djokovic over  Roger Federer
*Nearly a consensus: Djokovic over Federer*
As stated in my opening, this year’s field seems to be headlined by Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer followed by everyone else. I don’t doubt someone has a great week in them but I’ll play it safe and select the consistency of Novak Djokovic this week.