Day Two of the ATP World Tour finals will see the debut of arguably tennis’s three biggest names, as well as the most anticipated match of the group stage.
Rafael Nadal Vs. David Ferrer
In the day session, Nadal begins his quest to claim the one big title to thus far elude him with a match against fellow-Spaniard Ferrer.
Having claimed a clean sweep of the four Grand Slams, as well as Olympic gold in 2008, there is very little missing from the 27-year-old’s mantelpiece. Yet, on his least favored surface, Nadal has yet to win the end-of-year showpiece on the indoor hard courts at the O2 Arena in London, or at its previous location of Shanghai. It is something which Nadal is keen to put right.
“This is the title I’m missing,” he said, according to the tournament’s website. "Several times I played at a high level here, but I ran into those who are perhaps the best indoor players in history.
“All these tournaments are a little tougher for me,” he added. “But that doesn’t mean I’m not trying my best in every moment with practice, in every match. I tried at the tournament in Bercy [Paris] to work hard, to play with the right tactic. I think I did… I am ready to compete well again. I’m going to try.”
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Victory would complete what has been a remarkable year for Nadal. After coming back from a seven-month injury layoff, he has won an incredible 10 titles. However, his form has not been quite so unrelenting of late and he has not held a trophy aloft since the U.S. Open. Indeed, he was beaten in the semifinals of the ATP Masters 100 event in Paris last week by the man he will face on Tuesday.
Prediction: That win was only Ferrer’s fifth in 25 meetings against his more illustrious countryman. With Nadal able to match the same incredible defensive tenacity as Ferrer as well as having far more weight of shot, it is not a matchup that serves Ferrer well. Still, it should be another tough contest and may well go the distance before Nadal ultimately prevails.
Novak Djokovic Vs. Roger Federer
Nadal and Ferrer will provide an enticing appetizer to the day’s main event in the evening between two multiple winners of the Tour finals. It is also another matchup between two men who met in the semifinals in Paris. Djokovic came out on top in that match as he did in the final at the O2 last year, when he claimed his second title at the event.
Federer is looking for an incredible seventh title at the year-end championships in what is his record-tying 12th consecutive appearance. After his worst season in over a decade, in which he has been plagued by back trouble, Federer believes he is now in good shape.
“The year has been more difficult,” he said, according to the ATP Tour website. “Most of the time, I was focusing on myself to get things right in my life with my back. “Now, finally that I did, I feel like it is coming together at the right time for me. It has a different feel because it hasn’t been as consistent, as good and solid as it has been than in previous years.”
Prediction: If Federer is to win title number seven this year, he is likely to have to win both his final two matches in the group against Juan Martin del Potro and Richard Gasquet, however. Djokovic is on a roil after claiming consecutive titles in Beijing, Shanghai and indoors in Paris and should claim another win over Federer.
Where to watch: Rafael Nadal against David Ferrer will get underway at 9 a.m. ET, with Novak Djokovic’s contest with Roger Federer taking place at 3 p.m. ET. Coverage of both matches will be provided by ESPN3.