The final Masters 1000 event of the year is here.
We began in California before heading off to Miami. A trip to Europe to play on some clay took us around Monte-Carlo, Madrid and Rome in quick succession. A break then took us to Cincinnati followed by a trip to Canada. Once the final major of the year was done and dusted the tour diverted to Asia with the Shanghai Masters taking centre stage and now it comes to Paris for the 9th and final Masters of the year.
After 3 years of Djokovic domination in the French capital we had three new names. Andy Murray, Jack Sock and last year Karen Khachanov all won at the indoor event.
Who will walk away with it in 2019?
Rafa is here!!
For only the 7th time Rafa is here! No one holds more Masters 1000 titles (35) than the Spaniard who has made the surprising decision to play here.
If he loses in round one and Novak wins the title he will still be world number one going into the World Tour Finals.
I think playing here gives Rafa some extra indoor practice ahead of London but does add to a busy indoor schedule something he hasn’t had before. He usually skips a lot of indoor tournaments as he body doesn’t adapt well and has the Davis Cup Finals in Madrid following London which is indoor hard as well.
Wawrinka in round three is a possibility for Nadal who does also have Federer, Khachanov, Zverev and Berrettini in his half.
Bit of confusion going on at the moment as Paris have 6 players who can qualify for the main draw for qualifying but have left 7 spots open.
Jack Sock hasn’t been drawn and I don’t expect the 2017 champion to be, so where does this extra spot go?
If Jack Sock doesn’t play it will mean his 180 points gained from last year will drop off and will begin 2020 without a ranking. He hasn’t had a win all year on the ATP tour after struggle with injuries.
The race to London is still very much on! It’s quite excited for once to go down to the wire and there are still two spots up for grabs and potentially five or six could fill them.
Sascha Zverev leads the line but knows nothing is confirmed yet. The German receives a BYE for round one and will get either Verdasco or Coric in round two, ouch!
Matteo Berretini holds the eigth and final position in the race. A run to the semi-finals in Vienna means he has 130 point cushion over Agut in 9th.
Agut isn’t the only one in contention. Monfils, Goffin and Fognini are also in contention with the rankings looking like this;
Zverev – 2865
Berrettini – 2670
Agut – 2540
Monfils – 2360
Goffin – 2335
Fognini – 2290
All are top 16 seeds so receive a BYE for round one. A round two win will see them claim just 45 points. Bautista Agut will have to get to the quarter finals to have some say in proceedings which offers 180 points. Agut could get Basel finalist Alex De Minaur in round two and Tsitsipas in round three.
Fognini will have to get to the final to qualify for London so can pretty much rule that out. David Goffin and Gael Monfils are in similar boats needing a run to the semi-finals and early exits for the three ahead who it should come down to.
Berrettini will get either Rublev or Tsonga in round two. Zverev will be up against either Coric or Verdasco!
Round one match-ups!
I like a Masters 1000 event as it is packed with the best and the opening round fixtures are very much exciting!
Laszlo Djere v Alex De Minaur (winner gets Agut)
Frances Tiafoe v Taylor Fritz (winner gets Tsitsipas)
Grigor Dimitrov v Ugo Humbert (winner gets Goffin)
Borna Coric v Fernando Verdasco (winner gets Zverev)
Andrey Rublev v Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (winner gets Berrettini)
Marin Cilic v Hubert Hurkacz (winner gets Wawrinka)
Denis Shapovalov v Gilles Simon (winner gets Fognini)