November 14, 2008

I Smell an Upheaval...

The upsets in Shanghai continued on Friday.

Andy Murray continued his stand-out season and avenged his U.S. Open final defeat by ousting Roger Federer from the Tennis Masters Cup -- stopping him short of even a semi-final berth.

Roger, who has played in the final match every year since 2003 -- and won four of those times -- leaves Shanghai with a 1-2 record after also losing to Gilles Simon in his first round-robin match on Monday.

That results, in my humble opinion, in what will be a rather unexciting final four: Murray and Simon will play Nikolay Davydenko and Novak Djokovic, respectively.

Not to discredit any of these athletes -- they've all had stellar years. Djokovic won his first Grand Slam and Simon scored some impressive wins on the way to his three titles. And despite not passing the fourth round of a Grand Slam this year, Davydenko's three Championships have kept him firmly in the top five.

But despite these success stories it almost seems like the deck is so stacked in Murray's favor. As much as I hate to admit it, Murray's rise to the #4 spot is almost more dramatic than Rafael Nadal's ascension to #1. He fell as low as #22 this year, but bounced back quickly and re-entered the top ten three months later. He's beaten Rafa, Roger and Nole all since July and he's taken five tournaments this year. Andy and Nikolay split their previous six meetings, but I have a feeling Murray will ride his round-robin momentum into the finals.

Of course in tournaments like this, especially with Federer and Nadal out of the picture, it really is anybody's game -- and as always, I'm hoping to see some fireworks!

With four brand new players left, that change I was hoping for will soon be upon us!

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