9. FINAL – Now or Never: one tournament left on the Road to London

The Paris-Bercy draw has spat out a likely Tsonga-Gasquet shoot out where the winner will almost certainly go to London; Wawrinka remains vulnerable. Raonic and, especially, Haas have distant shots.

Two weeks ago in a post called “Five into three doesn’t go”, the ATP World Tour Final qualifiers were forecasted. In addition to the four who had already qualified (Nadal, Djokovic, Ferrer, Del Potro – Murray absent through injury), we assumed that Berdych would qualify sometime this last week (he did). This left us with five major challengers for three spots.

Save for the tournament finals in Valencia and Basel, there is now just one tournament left: a Masters 1000 event in Bercy in the south east of Paris. See below for exactly what each player needs to do in Bercy to qualify for London.

Update on how the five have fared

What did we say of the five challengers in the post two weeks ago, and how have they fared in the intervening two weeks?

“Federer should make it, save for a bad draw in Basel and Paris.” Federer will play the Basel final. Win and he’s in. Lose, and only a highly improbably “Aristotelian confluence of events” can keep him out of London (quote: West Wing).

“Tsonga essentially has to do as well in Vienna as Gasquet does in Moscow and has Paris [Bercy] in his pocket if he needs it.” Gasquet won Moscow; Tsonga lost in the semi finals in Vienna. With Gasquet now ahead of him, Tsonga really does need Bercy. Of course the big news from the draw for Bercy is that Gasquet and Tsonga are drawn to meet each other in the third round. The winner of that match (if it comes about) will likely qualify for London. Wednesday or Thursday night at the Palais Omnisports in Bercy could be epic.

“Wawrinka needs one more good tournament and is resting this week [Moscow-Vienna-Stockholm]. Like Federer, his one good tournament might be his home tournament in Basel.” Stan still needs one more good tournament after losing in the first round in Basel.

“Gasquet and Raonic need to play well this week [Moscow-Vienna-Stockholm] and probably “go deep” in Paris to force their way in. Both have played a lot of tennis over the last three weeks.” Raonic didn’t earn enough points in Stockholm and needs a very special week in Bercy.

Qualification currently looks like this:

9 Now or Never

The points on offer for a Masters 1000 are substantial so it’s worth putting them down here:

Winner 1,000 pts

Finalist 600pts

Semi Finals 360pts

Quarter Finals 180pts

Round 3 90pts

Round 2 45pts

Round 1 10pts (also the same for a seeded player who gets knocked out in Round 2)

What does each player need to do?

As noted above, the drama of the draw for Paris is that it scheduled a likely meeting between Gasquet and Tsonga in the third round. However, there are, as usual, a number of permutations to factor in. Here is an almost inexhaustible list of what players need to do – or need to happen if they are relying on others – in order to make it to London.

Federer (currently 7th)

  • Win the Basel final.
  • OR, if he loses in Basel, for Federer not to qualify three people need to overtake him. Which means, given he is out of reach of Haas, that Federer would need to be passed by Wawrinka, Raonic and 1 of Gasquet or Tsonga.
  • The only way that happens is if Raonic wins the Bercy title, beating Gasquet in the semi-finals, while Wawrinka reaches at least the semi finals in the bottom half of the draw. Tsonga is too far behind Federer to pass him by reaching the semi finals.
  • Even in the above scenario, if Federer beats either Youzhny or Anderson, he qualifies.
  • Question is: would you turn up?

Wawrinka (currently 8th)

  • Win 2 matches, probably against Lopez and then Almagro
  • If not, still possible to qualify providing 1) Tsonga does not make it to the QF or 2) if Tsonga does make it to the QF or beyond, Wawrinka wins at least the same number of matches as Gasquet.
  • Wawrinka could theoretically need to go further than the quarter final of the tournament if Raonic and Haas pull off stunning weeks but this is unlikely.

Gasquet (currently 9th)

  • Beat Gulbis or Verdasco, then probably Tsonga.
  • If not, win 1 more match than Wawrinka.
  • Could theoretically need to go further into the tournament if Raonic and Haas etc etc

Tsonga (currently 10th)

  • Win at least 2 matches. Beat Nishikori or Benneteau, then probably Gasquet.
  • Could theoretically need to go further into the tournament if Raonic and Haas etc etc
  • If Tsonga does not win two matches, he is watching the Tour Finals on Canal+ next week.

Raonic (currently 11th)

  • Make it to the final at least. Win the title, if Wawrinka and one of Tsonga or Gasquet make the semi finals.
  • Possible route: Istomin, Berdych, Ferrer, Nadal, Djokovic. I guess this is why it is theoretical.

Haas (currently 12th)

  • Win the title; nothing else will do.
  • And even then, if Gasquet (not Tsonga) reaches the first semi-final and Haas has to beat Wawrinka in the second semi-final, even winning the tournament will not do. The same applies if Gasquet or Tsonga reach the final and Wawrinka reaches the second semi-final.
  • Possible route: Kohlschreiber/Seppi, Federer, Del Potro, Djokovic, Nadal.
  • [whispers] Worth saying that one bookmaker is currently offering odds of 80/1 that Haas wins Bercy; while a second is offering 79/1 that Haas wins the World Tour Finals. OK then…

Almagro (currently 13th)

  • I think this would be a Black Swan event. But it is possible for Almagro to win Bercy and qualify for the Tour Finals.
  • Basically, Almagro can’t overtake either Wawrinka or Gasquet if either wins one match. And can’t overtake Tsonga if Tsonga wins two matches.
  • “What price would you like sir?”

UPDATE 28 October 2013

Youzhny (currently 14th)

  • After his win in Valencia, earning him 500 points, Mikhail Youzhny somehow has a shot at London. I don’t know how hallucinogenically coloured this swan would be, but his route to qualification would be as follows.
  • Win Bercy, obviously. That’s kinda the easy bit.
  • He can only reach 9th in the race to qualify (8th minus Murray).
  • So, both Gasquet and Tsonga would have to get knocked out in the first round. Raonic could get no further than the semi finals.
  • Youzhny would beat Haas and Almagro along the way anyway so he doesn’t have to rely on either of these players to lose early.

UPDATE 29 October 2013

  • Paris-Bercy will not have its Thursday night. Gasquet is through to round 3. But Tsonga, hobbled by injury, is knocked out by Nishikori and cannot now qualify for London.
  • Youzhny retired against Anderson, so that dream is over too.
  • Wawrinka and Gasquet are now in strong positions with runs deep into the tournament for Raonic (at least semi-final), Haas and Almagro (the latter two having to win the tournament) needed to qualify.
  • Wawrinka, Raonic, Almagro and Haas each play tomorrow in round 2. They will score 90 points for winning the match (10 points for losing). Updated table below.

9 Now or Never table Tuesday

UPDATE 30 October 2013 – And then there were 3…

  • Even if Paris won’t have its all-French showdown on Thursday, London will have Federer. As expected, he beat Kevin Anderson to qualify for London.
  • Wawrinka took a large step by beating Lopez and earning 90 points, and in the process knocking out Almagro from London, despite Almagro winning today. Also knocked out was Tommy Haas who for the second time in two weeks lost to countryman Philipp Kohlschreiber.
  • Only Milos Raonic stands between Wawrinka and Gasquet and the World Tour Finals. The equation is simple: Raonic needs to reach the final as a minimum. If Wawrinka and Gasquet both reach the semi finals, Raonic will need to win the tournament.
  • Tomorrow Wawrinka plays Almagro, Gasquet plays Nishikori, and Raonic plays Berdych. Updated table below.

9 Now or Never table Wednesday

UPDATE 31 October 2013

  • All done. Raonic lost to Berdych. Wawrinka and Gasquet winning was academic but serves to emphasise the gap between them and the rest. Thursday’s table below. In bold, the 8 for London.

9 Now or Never table Thursday

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