November 26, 2010

The Final Four

Well it sure has been a crazy year, hasn't it?

So many upsets, so many shockers, so many surprises.

But here we are, with only two days left of pro Tour action, and suddenly everything seems right with the world. After six days of battling through the toughest opponents in the game, the four men left standing at the World Tour Finals are those who've been the most prolific champions in the past few years.

The first semi match on Saturday pits two men against each other who, despite their impressive resumés, have never reached the finals at the year-end championships. World #1 Rafael Nadal will face Andy Murray, a man who's beaten him in two of the three matches they've played this year. The Brit is clearly more comfortable on this surface and has the support of his hometown crowd, but Nadal has been unstoppable in his last three matches, more than making up for his dismal performance in London last year. It should be an exciting match, as so many of the match-ups between these two are, and while Murray might be the favorite given the circumstances, Rafa has a bit of a motivating factor that you just cannot ignore.

Four-time champion Roger Federer might just be waiting in the finals, but he still has a semi of his own to win. After sweeping his three round robin matches he returns to the final four for the eighth time in his career. He'll meet 2008 champ Novak Djokovic in the battle of former winners, both trying to regain glory. Of course Roger has the head-to-head edge over the Serb, but Nole does have that one amazing win at the U.S. Open to give him some hope. And while I'm sure the fans are hoping he doesn't again prevent the match everyone wants to see, you certainly can't count him out.

With fifteen titles between them this year, it's hard to argue that anyone else should be playing these last few matches of the year, so it's certainly nice to see all their hard work pay off. As for who stands the best chance of winning the whole thing, well you probably have to give the odds to the men who've been there before -- but I sure have learned better than to count anybody out!

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