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Thursday, October 19, 2006

Tennis Masters Cup (11th - 18th November 2006)

With the Masters Cup looming, the ATP tennis players have but a few weeks to make the final cut. Indeed, the world's best have but a few tournaments left to gather some extra points that will enable them to contest this major event.
The Masters Cup is the pinnacle of the season for ATP players. Only the highest eight ranked players get the right to participate in it. So the race to grab points and move higher up the ranks is a must for those who aspire to be involved in that tremendous tournament.
Names like Roger Federer (Swi) and Rafael Nadal (Spa) are assured of a spot for being ranked N. 1 and 2 respectively. They have quite a big margin over other players so there is no fear that they should be overthrown in the next couple of weeks as four more tournaments are up for grabs. Nevertheless players who currently occupy ranks 3 to 8 have all to play for in these last remaining days as a mere 100 points seperate all of them and they are all aware that their final ranking before that tournament is crucial.
Other players can easily move up and spoil their party before it even starts. Indeed, players like Marcos Baghdatis (Cyp), Mario Ancic (Cro) Tommy Haas (Ger) and Fernando Gonzalez (Chi), ranked 9th to 12th respectively, are all within 80 points of that number 8 hot seat. Needless to say that Fernando Gonzalez and Marcos Baghdatis have obtained tremendous results lately. Therefore, Tommy Robredo (Spa) and David Nalbandian (Arg) (ranked 7th and 8th respectively) cannot afford to let go if they intend to keep their places.
All four tournaments leading to the Masters Cup will be played on carpet or hard surfaces, so big hitters like Tommy Haas, David Nalbandian and James Blake (US), will have a slight advantage over others; an advantage that should allow them to retain their spots or move further up the rankings.
Note: That elusive eighth and last qualifying spot can also be attributed to a winner of a Grand slam in that same year, but he must be ranked within the top 20 in the ATP Race.
As for the Masters Cup in itself, one should know that it is a little bit different from other tournaments as players do not directly enter the knockout phase. In fact, the eight players are divided into 2 groups: one is called red and the other gold. Then elimination is not direct as they enter a round robin type competition. Each player of a group gets to play against the three others and in the end the two players from each group with the best record, proceed to the semi-finals. The elimination is then direct as the winners of each semi-final meet up in the final to battle for the trophy.
Shanghai is the venue for this year's ATP Masters Cup, for the second year in a row, and whoever lifts the coveted trophy, tennis fans are always guaranteed a load of breathtaking tennis and some mouthwatering clashes between the world's top eight.

Note: I will try to keep you updated on the results of the ATP race as the opening day draws near, and will try to present all the eight players as they book their spots for the major tennis showdown. Keep an eye on this Spot ;)

Posted by Maldoror :: 9:17:00 PM :: 2 Comments:

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