Saturday, November 01, 2014

2014 PARIS MASTERS: Djokovic-Raonic Final; Federer Now Unlikely To End Year #1

The ninth Masters 1000 tournament of the year is in the Bercy suburb of Paris. Last year's winner was Novak Djokovic, who has won an astonishing 19 Masters shields at the tender age of 27. Tomorrow, Djokovic will be going for Masters shield #20 (and career win #600) when he faces Milos Raonic in the final of the 2014 Paris Masters. Raonic just qualified for the Year-Ending Championship for the first time in his career by accomplishing an even more impressive first: beating Roger Federer for the first time in 6 matches.

In Saturday's semifinal matches Raonic outlasted fellow Elite Eight member Tomas Berdych in three sets while Djokovic got revenge on a clearly exhausted 2014 US Open finalist Kei Nishikori by dispatching the Japanese player in just over an hour 6-2 6-3. (Nishikori had just sealed his own qualification for the ATP World Tour Finals in London by outlasting David Ferrer in 3 grinding sets.)

On Sunday, Raonic will face Djokovic for the fourth time  having never beaten him (although this time is their first meeting in a final and first time not on clay) and hope that he will be able to achieve some more firsts: first time win of an ATP Masters shield and a first win over Djokovic and a World #1.

Somehow I think that will be a bit too high hurdle for the Canadian to climb. Djokovic is on a 26-match winning streak on indoor hard-courts. The last person to beat him on this surface was Sam Querrey (at the 2012 Paris Masters). if Djokovic does win on Sunday then he will only need to win one match in London to maintain his grip on the #1 ranking. Even if he loses to Raonic, he would retain the World #1 by getting out of the round-robin section of the year-ending championship, so the likelihood of Federer ending the year ranked #1 for a 6th time is looking very small.

MadProfessah's pick: Djokovic.

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