This is my tennis blog, Lefty Advantage. Tennis is my biggest passion in life and I started this site to discuss the great game. I mainly follow the career of Roger Federer, but I truly love watching all tennis, whether it be the final of a Grand Slam
or a junior tournament on the other side of the world.

I have played tennis for 13 years. If you ever met me, I could talk your head off about all things tennis for hours on end if you would let me. Welcome, and enjoy the writing!

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Federer in Abu Dhabi

"The sky is falling, the sky is falling!"

This is the reaction of some Federer fans (but not all) after he put together two unmotivated performances against rivals Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal in the Abu Dhabi exhibition tournament.  Roger lost 62 61 to Novak and a day later lost 61 75 to Nadal.  Now, if this were any tournament that actually counted towards something, I would be a little worried with Roger's performance.  However, this was an EXHIBITION tournament.  For Roger, it is basically a glorified practice session.  He gets to gauge the play of his opponents, while trying out some new shots and getting the feel for the ball and the atmosphere in a regular match again.

In Roger's first match against Djokovic, he was obliterated.  Some saw this as a worrying sign.  Me?  Not so much.  Novak had already shaken off his rust in a good three-set match with Gael Monfils the day before, and was concentrated and sharp as if he was playing in a Grand Slam final.  Roger, on the other hand, had not played a real match in over a month, and was clearly not motivated to give it his all, and on top of that the month off gave him some rust and he could not do much.  Hardly worrisome as far as I'm concerned.  In the second match against Nadal, it was much of the same, and Rafa took the first set 6-1.  Then Roger played a little more competitively but still lost the second set 7-5.  Again, not that worrying because to Roger, these exhibition matches are just like practice sessions.

It's very important to note that these pre-season exhibition matches do not indicate a player's performance in the Australian Open at all.  In 2007, Andy Roddick upset Federer in Kooyong, another exhibition tournament.  This shocking revelation had much of the media wondering whether the reign of Roger Federer at the top was soon coming to an end.  Then, Roger won the Australian Open.  Even more than that, he emphatically obliterated Andy Roddick 64 60 62 in the semifinals, in a match which everybody was expecting to be a little closer considering the result in the exhibition a few weeks before.  But it just goes to show that these exhibition tournaments really mean nothing, and I mean NOTHING.  So Federer fans, and tennis fans in general who are worried about Federer's chances in the Australian Open in a few weeks, I have some advice.  Calm down, take a deep breath, and think clearly.

There is one thing about Roger Federer that will always be constant, and that is his ability to bring his best for the Grand Slams.  No matter his form in the events prior, he always shows up at the biggest events of the year.  Look at the French Open last year, where he had zero momentum beforehand, suffering bad losses to Melzer and Gasquet.  Then look at the tournaments prior to the US Open - Montreal and Cincinnati.  Roger played terrible in those two matches in which he lost to Tsonga and Berdych, but then what did he do in New York?  Oh yeah, played some of his best tennis and held match points against the best player in the world, Djokovic.  So, what I'm trying to say is, do not look at these results in exhibitions for more than what they are, and that is practice events.  When the real tennis starts, Federer will look much better and will resemble the great Maestro that we all came to love throughout his career.

It is a given that Djokovic (and even Nadal to a lesser extent) try much harder for these exhibition matches than Roger does.  Especially with Novak, he wants to be in top gear to find the form that had been lacking at the end of 2011.  Also, Novak is not playing in Doha so this Abu Dhabi exhibition is the ONLY preparation he will get before the Australian Open, so of course he is going to try his very best and prepare to the best of his ability.  But for Federer, his preparation is in Doha, where the real competition begins.  I am sure Fed will play some great tennis in Qatar and will put all these suspicions of bad form to rest.  Heck, even if Roger doesn't win in Doha or doesn't even make the final, it doesn't mean much.  Right now in Roger's career, all that matters is the Slams, and now this year an Olympic gold.  He uses the events in between Slams to gauge his form and work out the kinks in his game.  When he gets to the Slams, he catches fire and surprises everybody by playing some killer tennis.

So as I wrap this article up, let me conclude by saying that Roger's play in Abu Dhabi is in no way indicative of the kind of play we will see in Australia, and that those who are worried should calm down.  I am looking forward to Doha and the Australian Open, and if Roger happens to win his 17th major in a month's time, I will laugh at all of you who made such a big deal over such meaningless results in Abu Dhabi.

2012 ATP Tour Season Preview to follow shortly, as well as the Doha preview.

Waiting patiently for tennis to start,


Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Roger Federer 2006 vs Novak Djokovic 2011

After the brilliant season Novak Djokovic had in the year 2011, there is a debate among tennis communities as to whether or not it was the greatest season ever in tennis history.  It is an interesting debate and there are certainly convincing arguments both for and against.  Personally, I vote against Djokovic's 2011 campaign, and I am going to compare it with the greatest tennis season I think anybody has ever played, Roger Federer's 2006.  Let me compare the key numbers:

Novak Djokovic 2011:  70-6, 10 titles, 3 Grand Slams, 5 Masters 1000s
Roger Federer 2006:  92-5, 12 titles, 3 Grand Slams, 4 Masters 1000s

Record from Start of Year to Wimbledon:

Djokovic:  41-1
Federer: 44-4

Record from Wimbledon to Masters Cup:
Djokovic:  29-5
Federer:  48-1

As you can see, Federer has 22 more wins with one less loss, and two more titles, even though Djokovic has one more Masters 1000 than the Swiss Great.  In both seasons, the two men swept both Indian Wells and Miami, and won in Canada.  Both men won the same three Slams, the Australian Open, Wimbledon, and US Open.  The one difference in their Grand Slam seasons is that Federer made the French Open final in 2006, whereas Novak famously fell in the semifinal to Roger Federer in the best match of 2011.  The one big advantage Federer has is winning the Masters Cup, and doing so emphatically, not losing a match.  In 2011, Djokovic went 1-2 in the group stage and failed to end his season in grand fashion.  It is about as close as you can get but I firmly believe that Federer's 2006 season is better than Djokovic's 2011 season.

In 2011, Djokovic started the year 64-2, but then fell to 6-4 after the US Open and finished with a record of 70-6.  When you consider what Novak could have done had he finished the year on better terms, the end result is pretty disappointing, to go 6-4.  Federer, on the other hand, only lost ONE match after the French Open, to Andy Murray in Cincinnati.  He won Halle, Wimbledon, Toronto, US Open, Tokyo, Madrid, Basel, and the Masters Cup.  He finished the year on a 29-match winning streak, which is extraordinarily impressive considering his feats throughout the year.

Another argument I have for Federer's '06 to be better than Novak's '11 is the consistency factor.  Roger played 97 matches in 2006, and yet he still finished the year on a 29-match winning streak.  Djokovic, for all his incredible accomplishments in the first 9 months of 2011, struggled very much in the final few months, large in part thanks to the physical style of play and the numerous amount of long, tiring matches he played.  There is no doubt that the 41-match unbeaten streak is one of the greatest achievements in all of tennis and maybe even all of sport, but that he failed the season strong hurts the season's claim to be the greatest ever.  When you consider that he played only 76 matches (very little compared to 97), for him to run out of gas in September shows how truly special Federer was that year in 2006.

A good argument for Djokovic is that he went 10-1 against Federer and Nadal.  That is certainly very impressive, but I feel that the argument itself insults Roger by insinuating that there was not any competition in 2006.  Fed had to deal with Nadal, Roddick, Blake, Nalbandian, Davydenko, Ljubicic, and Gonzalez all in or nearing their peaks as tennis players.  The fact also remains that Federer only lost to two players all year, Nadal (4 times) and Murray.  Djokovic lost to Federer, Murray, Del Potro, Nishikori, Ferrer, and Tipsarevic.  Of course, the 6 consecutive wins over Nadal is absolutely outstanding and the tennis he was playing was some of the most elite we have ever seen.  But that doesn't change that he trailed off emphatically at the end of the year.  Not to mention that Novak retired twice and withdrew before his QF match vs Tsonga in Paris, and because of this there is no question that Federer's year was much more aesthetically impressive.

I also want to bring up this misconception that Federer dominated the tour with ease.  He faced some of the toughest matches in his career in 2006.  In the Australian Open, he withstood a 5-setter vs Haas and then three four-setters against Davydenko, Kiefer, and Baghdatis to win the title.  Coupled with that, he was still not 100% fit after the ankle injury he sustained at the end of 2005.  He also faced some very tough competition in Toronto, going the distance with Tursunov, Malisse, Gonzalez, and Gasquet.  Even in Basel he came through in one of the toughest matches of his career against Paradorn Srichapan, winning in a third set tiebreak (and remember, Fed had never won Basel before so the pressure was immense).  Even after that, he saved match points against Andy Roddick in the Masters Cup Round Robin before eventually prevailing.  So, as you can see, Federer played his most beautiful and dominant tennis in 2006, but also some of his strongest mental tennis as well. 

I understand that the debate will rage on for many years to come in the argument "Roger Federer 2006 or Novak Djokovic 2011?"  I wrote this piece to state my case for Federer.  Agree, disagree, I don't really care, because it is my opinion.  The Federer of 2006 is the greatest tennis player ever, and that also sways into my decision.  Overall, the elite level of play, the 48-1 record to finish the season, and the poor finish to the season by Djokovic leads me to hold Federer's 2006 season ahead of the Djokovic 2011 season.

I hope you enjoyed this piece and I cannot wait for the 2012 tennis season to start!


Saturday, December 24, 2011

Roger Federer 2011 Season in Review

The 2011 season for Roger Federer cannot be considered a great year by his lofty standards, but it was a very good year nevertheless.  2011 marked the first year since 2002 that he hadn't won a Grand Slam in a year, and it was a year filled with some triumphs and disasters, where we got to witness the very best and sometimes the very worst of Roger Federer.  He won his 6th Masters Cup, his 1st title in Paris Bercy, his 5th Basel crown, and reached the final of Roland Garros, but he also lost two matches in Grand Slams being up two sets to none, something in which he had never done in his career before.  In between those Slams (Wimbledon and US Open) he had a disappointing tournaments in Montreal and Cincinnati, and before Roland Garros, he was on the wrong end in matches with Melzer and Gasquet in Monte Carlo and Rome respectively, perhaps making his achievements in the French Open all the more impressive.  But alas, without further ado, the 2011 season in review:

Doha - Win (vs Nikolay Davydenko)

After a superb end to the 2010 season, Roger started off his 2011 season in fine form, not dropping a set en route to his 3rd Doha crown, also winning the title in 2005 and 2006.  Roger played some stellar tennis throughout the tournament, defeating Thomas Schoorel (where he hit a front-tweener), countryman Marco Chiudnelli, Viktor Troicki, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, and Nikolay Davydenko.  It was the perfect start to the season for Roger and gave him some great confidence heading into the Australian Open.

Australian Open - Semifinal loss to Novak Djokovic

In the first Slam of 2011, Roger lost some of his confidence in the 2nd round against Gilles Simon.  Up two sets to love and playing some sublime tennis, he let down his guard and let Simon back into the match, and Roger was forced to win in a tough 5-set encounter that never should have gotten that far.  This was the turning point in the tournament as far as I'm concerned, as he lost a little belief and started playing a little too defensively which hurt his game.  In the 3rd round he defeated Xavier Malisse in straights, but then dropped a set to Tommy Robredo in the 4th round.  In the quarters, he dismantled Stan Wawrinka, and then came Novak Djokovic.  In hindsight, a Djokovic win could have been foreshadowed.  He was playing superb tennis and Roger wasn't as sharp and aggressive as he had been a year before when he picked up his 16th major.  In January, I thought losing in straights to Djokovic was a terrible thing, but now looking back on it, after the season Djokovic had, you can see how great he was at that time, and with Roger not at his best, the loss was completely understandable.  Disappointing result nevertheless after his triumph the year before.

Spring Hardcourt Season

Dubai - Final loss to Novak Djokovic
Indian Wells - Semifinal loss to Novak Djokovic
Miami - Semifinal loss to Rafael Nadal

After the Australian Open, Federer played some decent tennis but ultimately fell short of great achievement.  In Dubai in February, he played great all week until he ran into the red-hot Djokovic, who again defeated him in straight sets.  In Indian Wells, Roger had a good week until he again ran into Novak, who outlasted him in three tough sets.  In Miami a week after that, Roger again had a good week, but then fell completely flat against Rafael Nadal and lost 63 62.  Overall, in these three tournaments, Roger was far from his best when it really mattered, but he played decent tennis, making a final and two semifinals.  In Indian Wells and Miami, the courts are so slow that they are almost like clay and they definitely don't give Fed an advantage at all.

Spring Claycourt Season

Monte Carlo - Quarterfinal loss to Jurgen Melzer
Madrid - Semifinal loss to Rafael Nadal
Rome - 3rd round loss to Richard Gasquet

In Monte Carlo, Roger started off great, beating Kohlscreiber and Cilic easily before running into Jurgen Melzer.  Fed played very average, and coupled with Melzer playing great tennis, he was upset.  A week later in Madrid, Roger survived an early scare with Feliciano Lopez to make the semifinals, where he played some great tennis vs Rafael Nadal but ultimately came up short.  The final two sets where Nadal won comfortably were deceiving, because Roger was in every service game and could have won the match had a few more things gone his way.   Nevertheless, Roger took his game to Rome, where after defeating Tsonga, he was again upset, this time by Richard Gasquet.  It was a match where he lost two tiebreaks and even had a break lead in the 3rd set and he should have never lost it.  So after three unsuccessful clay court weeks, Roger looked to be in bad shape for the French Open.  If only we knew what was coming....

French Open - Final loss to Rafael Nadal

Heading into the French Open, the talk of the tennis world was Novak Djokovic, who was on a massive winning streak and had just defeated Rafael Nadal twice in a row on clay in Madrid and Rome, not to mention BOTH in straights, to head into the event as a favourite alongside Nadal.  Federer was not even in the equation to many critics.  But that all changed on one fateful day when the Swiss Maestro defeated Djokovic in the semifinals, and ending his 41-match unbeaten streak.  It was for all intents and purposes the match of the year, and Roger defied all the odds by beating the seemingly unbeatable Serb.  With the win, Fed faced Nadal in the final, and gave him a big run for his money.  In the end, he lost in four sets, but it was the closest Fed has ever come to beating Nadal in the French Open.  He held a set point in the 1st, and had it not been for a drop shot going an inch wide, he would have taken the set.  Then, after being down two sets and a break down, he fought back to take the 3rd.  He even held break points early in the fourth to take the match to a 5th (seemingly), but was unable and Rafa finished it out.  Overall, it was a great tournament for the Fedster and he showed to everyone that he was still a force to be reckoned with.  Also to mention, Rafa was two sets to one down against John Isner, and if the big man closes it out, everything completely changes.

Wimbledon - Quarterfinal loss to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga

Up until the 3rd set of the Wimbledon quarterfinals, Federer was looking great.  He had only dropped one set before then, and was looking to make the semifinals with ease.  Then Tsonga came along.  In each of the final three sets, he gathered an early break lead and never let Fed back into the sets.  Roger ended up losing after not breaking in the final four sets and not even facing a break point in the final three.  It marked the first time Roger had ever lost in a Grand Slam while being two sets to love up, and many were flabbergasted at the events that had unfolded before them.  Tsonga played amazing tennis in the final three sets (even four really), and Roger could not do much to alter his momentum.  So now after three Slams and six months into the season, Roger Federer had not won a Grand Slam and only won one title in the first event of the year.  To prevent a Slamless season, Roger would need to win the US Open.

Summer Hardcourt Season

Montreal - 3rd round loss to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
Cincinnati - Quarterfinal loss to Tomas Berdych

After the long post-Wimbledon layoff, these two tournaments were very forgettable for Roger.  Tsonga got the better of him once again, winning in a lopsided third set, and a week later, Fed turned in a very uninspired match against Berdych that left many fans puzzled.  The Cincy match was most puzzling.  After a great match vs Juan Martin del Potro where Roger used all his variety, he threw all that out the window vs Berdych and tried to win with power - a very bad gameplan vs the big Czech.  Roger paid the price and headed into the US Open with very little momentum.

US Open - Semifinal loss to Novak Djokovic

Roger breezed through his first four matches, and then faced a tough test in Tsonga, who had beaten him twice in a row.  However, Federer dismantled his rival and won convincingly in straight sets.  Up next was Djokovic in the semis - the most anticipated match of the year.  Fed started in the most perfect way possible, winning the first two sets.  Then Djokovic came back and won the third.  In the fourth, Roger checked out while conserving energy for the 5th.  In that 5th set, both played incredible tennis and Roger got out to a 5-3 lead, holding two match points.  Then it all fell apart.  Novak hit a blistering forehand return winner, and from there, Rogers spirit appeared to be broken.  He lost the final four games and Novak had done the same things twice in a row - defeating Federer in the US Open in 5 sets whilst facing down two match points.  The loss left many fans completely shocked, and for good reason.

Davis Cup Tie - Switzerland vs Australia

In the month off from ATP events, Fed participated in the Davis Cup tie between Switzerland and Australia, and was a huge factor in them defeating the Aussies to make it back to the group stage.  He defeated Bernard Tomic and Lleyton Hewitt in tight 4 set contests, and was there every step of the way to cheer Wawrinka on against Hewitt in the match to decide it all.

Indoor Season

Basel - Win (vs Kei Nishikori)
Paris-Bercy - Win (vs Jo-Wilfried Tsonga)
World Tour Finals - Win (vs Jo-Wilfried Tsonga)

After triumph in Basel the year before, Roger resumed right as things were and captured his 5th Basel title in a relatively easy tournament, only losing one set along the way.  This was a huge win for Roger after the US Open shock, and he always gets emotional when winning in his hometown, and you could see how much it meant to him.  Novak Djokovic losing to Kei Nishikori in the semifinals definitely gave him an easier match in the final, but it's not out the question that Federer would have beaten Djokovic, who was suffering from some injuries.

The next week, Roger played in the Paris Indoors, where he had never even made the final.  He rolled through the early rounds until dismantling Tomas Berdych in the semis, revenge for the Cincinnati loss earlier in the year.  In the final, Roger defeated Tsonga to win his first title in Paris, and the crowd was definitely appreciative of his efforts as always.  Even Thierry Henry, the famous soccer player (or footballer as some say), sat in Roger's box and not Tsonga's, his fellow countryman.  The win for Roger was a big sign of perseverance in finally winning a title had had never claimed before, and gave him endless confidence heading into the World Tour Finals.

In the meeting of the best 8 players in the world, Fed went undefeated to win his 6th Masters Cup, but it was not all easy.  He endured tough three set matches with Tsonga in the round robin and final, and Fish.  The highlight of the tournament was the demolishing of Nadal 63 60.  Federer showed why he is still an elite player and the greatest Masters Cup player ever with his strong performance the entire week, and ensured that he will be a contender come the Australian Open in 2012.

Federer finished the year with a 64-12 record, and finishing with a 17-0 record, not losing after the US Open defeat to Djokovic.  It wasn't a great year for Roger, but it was one where he did some amazing things and broke even more records.

Top 5 Federer matches of 2011:

5.  Federer vs Tsonga, US Open QF, 64 63 63
4.  Federer vs Monaco,  US Open 4R, 61 62 60
3.  Federer vs Berdych, Paris-Bercy SF, 64 63
2.  Federer vs Nadal, WTF RR, 63 60
1.  Federer vs Djokovic, French Open SF 76(5) 63 36 76(5)

I hope everyone enjoyed this season in review, and may Federer have a grand 2012 season filled with many more delights, and hopefully a Grand Slam and Olympic gold!  I also want to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy Holidays!

Until next time,


Thursday, December 01, 2011

2011 World Tour Finals Summary

It has been almost a week since the finals of the 2011 Barclays ATP World Tour Finals were played, where Roger Federer won his 6th year-end title by defeating Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in three spectacular sets.  In that time period, I have thought largely about what the tournament meant for all nine players that competed and how each one of their result may do for them heading into the Australian Open next year.  I believe it is pretty clear that Roger Federer, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, David Ferrer, and Tomas Berdych were the "winners" of the week and Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, and Andy Murray were the "losers" of the week.  Sure, Mardy Fish went 0-3 but he can hardly be called a "loser" because he won a set off both Nadal and Federer, and he qualified for the Masters Cup for the very first time at the age of 29.  That is a remarkable achievement and he should be applauded.  Even though Tsonga, Ferrer, and Berdych didn't win the event, they had fantastic weeks, and Ferrer especially, who knocked off both Murray and Djokovic.  Tsonga also took out a hungry Rafa Nadal which was no small feat either.

However, when all is said and done, the biggest winner of them all is Roger Federer.  He broke yet another record by winning his 6th Masters Cup title.  He also tied Ivan Lendl for most year-end championship wins with 39.  He has won two consecutive titles three times now, and in three cities, Houston, Shanghai, and London.  Since 1990, there have only been three players to win the tournament whilst going undefeated.  Michael Stitch in 1993, Lleyton Hewitt in 2001, and Roger Federer in 2003, 2004, 2006, 2010, and 2011.  That is 5 times going undefeated, and twice in consecutive years in doing so.  Very impressive numbers.  Each year, the competition keeps getting tougher and tougher, or so that seems to be the general consensus in tennis debates, yet the ever-magical Roger Federer continues to thrive in the 5th biggest tournament of the year, and does so with immaculate style and flash.  For all the doubt that has been placed in our minds by the media that Roger Federer can still go at the highest of levels, he proved that he very well could by winning the World Tour Finals once again.  As the saying goes, "the man's a Maestro."

But now onto business:  a breakdown of the week that was for the top 9:

Andy Murray:  0-1 in Round Robin, withdrew

It certainly was not the week Andy expected.  He lost in straight sets to David Ferrer in his first round robin match and withdrew from the tournament the day after claiming he was injured before the tournament during a practice session.  Now, Andy will be very disappointed at not being able to play in the tournament which was again held in London, which has more significance to him than any other player.  I believe however, that he should be more disappointed in his attitude.  Before the tournament even started, he got into a war of words with Federer, and in one of his remarks, he stated "I will let my tennis do the talking."  Answer me this, readers:  How can Andy Murray say with any confidence that he will let his tennis do the talking if he is injured, and knows that he is injured?  Personally, I saw it as being very arrogant and he got what was coming to him.  A fitting end to the season for a man with such little class.

Mardy Fish:  0-3 in Round Robin, did not make SF

As I mentioned before, even though Fish went 0-3 I think he can look at the tournament he played and be happy with himself.  He took a set off Fed and Rafa, and above all that, he enjoyed himself.  He knows he may not be back next year so he took his time and relished the experience of being called one of the top 8 players in the world.  For him it was an honour and the results won't matter.

Rafael Nadal:  1-2 in Round Robin, did not make SF

After the run Nadal had in 2010 where he made the final and lost to Roger, this will definitely be a disappointing end to the ATP season for Rafa.  He never did seem himself.  He barely got through Mardy Fish in his first match.  He got utterly destroyed by Roger in the second match, and in his final Round Robin match, he had all the chances to win but came up short against Tsonga.  I believe the gas was just not in the tank, as usual at this time of year for the Spaniard, but the loss to Roger also affected him mentally, much like the loss to Rafa in the French in 2008 did to Roger.  Rafa shall not be worried just yet however, as he and his fellow teammates can win the Davis Cup vs Argentina to end the year on a high.

Novak Djokovic:  1-2 in Round Robin, did not make SF

Novak Djokovic ran out of steam after the US Open, plain and simple.  By the time London came around, he was tired and unmotivated, and it clearly showed.  He came through against Tomas Berdych in a tough match that probably wore him out, then struggled mightily against David Ferrer and Janko Tipsarevic.  Only time will tell if Novak can have a magical 2012 season similar to his 2011 campaign, but this tournament was not a great end to an otherwise great year.

Janko Tipsarevic:  9th man, 1-1 in Round Robin, did not make SF

Janko was the lucky guy to get into the tournament after Andy Murray withdrew due to being the 9th ranked player in the world.  His hard work in 2011 paid off and he got his chance, and he did not blow it.  In his first match, he barely lost to Tomas Berdych, and in the second last Round Robin match of the tournament on the Friday, he defeated fellow countryman Djokovic in three sets, which in the end cost Novak his shot at the semifinals.  For a guy who was not slated to be in the Masters Cup this year, going 1-1 and beating the #1 player in the world is pretty neat.  I am happy for Janko too;  he has become one of my favourites players on tour and I love his humble, hard-working attitude.

David Ferrer:  2-1 in Round Robin, semifinalist

Ferrer had a pretty great week all things considering.  He made the final in 2007, but did go 0-3 last year so to go 2-1 and make the semifinals is definitely a worthy achievement.  He defeated Murray and Djokovic and played his best tennis of the year, in his own words.  He lost to Federer in the semis, but against Roger, he does not have any weapons to counter Roger's all-court attacking game.  Even then, it was a valiant effort and he probably should have won the first set.  I think he'll have a fantastic 2012 season and I love his tenacity and spirit.  He is one player that I love to watch just for the fight that he possesses. 

Tomas Berdych:  2-1 in Round Robin, semifinalist

Overall it was a very good week for Berdych as he made the semifinals.  Along the way he lost a tight match to Djokovic, and won tough three-set matches against Tipsarevic and Ferrer, the latter in which he came very close to losing and thus would have eliminated himself from the final four.  On a more personal note, Berdych was forced to honour his best to go bald if he won 50 matches in a season, played in the Masters Cup, and won a title, he would shave his head.  He won his 50th match in Bercy and won in Beijing a few weeks before that, so have a good time being bald, Tomas!

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga:  2-1 in Round Robin, finalist

Tsonga showed why he is the most dangerous man on the ATP Tour.  He is very capable of playing explosive, unstoppable tennis at any time, and he did so many times in the week of the World Tour Finals.  In his first match, he barely lost to Federer after a mental lapse in concentration in the final game, but then rebounded nicely, following with wins over Fish and Rafa.  The Rafa win was huge for him, and he propelled himself into the final with a good win over Berdych.  In the final, he threw the kitchen sink and more at Roger, but still came up empty.  Nevertheless, a very telling week for Jo, and I can't wait to see what 2012 brings for him.


Roger Federer:  3-0 in Round Robin, CHAMPION

What else can you say that hasn't already been said?  Fed keeps defying the odds and keeps playing sublime tennis in the biggest events of the year.  Winning his 6th Masters Cup title was not as simple as winning his 5th, where he only lost one set in the entire week.  This year, he lost sets to Tsonga twice and Fish, and was a tad more inconsistent than he was the previous year.  However, a win is a win and that cannot be denied in any way.  The highlight of the week for many was seeing him demolish Nadal 63 60 in one of the greatest performances ever.  I know I won't ever forget it.  Hell, I may not ever take it off my PVR, it was that great.  All in all, the win for Roger does wonders for his offseason and now he can go into the Australian Open next year with endless confidence and hopefully he can break through and win his first Slam in two years and his 17th overall.

It was a great week filled with great matches by the very best players in the world, and I enjoyed every minute of it (not just because Murray, Djokovic, and Nadal all struggled).  The city of London did a supreme job of hosting the event once again, and I cannot wait until this time next year when we get to see the top 8 do their stuff on the greatest stage again.