Welcome to Tennis Elbow, the column that looks back on the week that was in the world of tennis. This week, Charles Blouin-Gascon previews the 2017 Rolex Paris Masters.
Welcome to Paris, the city of love and city of lights and, in our case, the city of this year’s final Masters 1000 and final overall tournament.
Throughout the year, we’ve harped on how much tennis was being played and how the sport never stops—but this time, we’re actually really close to the end. There’s Paris this week, then a whole bunch of finals for the the Next Gen, the ATP, and the Davis Cup, and then it’s time to rest.
But before we rest, we still have a ton of things to figure out in Paris: before the end of the week, we’ll know who the final two to book their tickets for the Nitto ATP Finals will be, and who will finish the season as the best player in the world.
And in this space today, let’s see if we can’t figure out who’s going to emerge from the pack in the French capital.
AccorHotels Arena is ready for the #RolexPMasters! Are you? Join us at 11 a.m. tomorrow!
Tickets available: https://t.co/Zt1tjqU8md pic.twitter.com/DGUmrhVh5h
— ROLEX PARIS MASTERS (@RolexPMasters) October 29, 2017
This main draw at the Rolex Paris Masters is really probably as good as it could have been, with the two tenors as the top two seeds and a number of guys that are currently playing as well as they have this year.
***Editor’s note: Actually, Roger Federer has just pulled out of Paris with a back injury.
DOH! Meh, we’ll reassess our predictions when we cross that bridge.
Rafael Nadal is the favourite in the top section of the draw and, as far as we know, he hasn’t withdrawn from Paris. It’s to his advantage to compete and maybe finally win a first Rolex Paris Masters because the year-end No. 1 ranking would be clinched as his before long.
Hear him ROAR ?@delpotrojuan beats Cilic 6-4 6-4 to move into Basel final.#swissindoors pic.twitter.com/9oX1aOF4qC
— Tennis TV (@TennisTV) October 28, 2017
Joining the Spaniard in the quarterfinals will be Sam Querrey, who could help the boost in points that would come with this performance in his quest to making the cut for London.
In the second section, Alexander Zverev is living proof that just because you’ll probably be the best player in the world one doesn’t mean that you’ll get there overnight. Remember, the German was set to take over the ATP after triumphing in Montreal but over the ensuing months Zverev was merely okay. In Paris, we think he’ll reach the third round, where he’ll crash against the Argentine wall that is Juan Martin del Potro. Because we’d love nothing more than to see the tall Argentine reach the Nitto ATP Finals.
The second half of the draw is a little depleted with the withdrawal of Federer, but all this really means is that it’s more ripe for surprises. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga has been on an absolute tear since tennis moved to indoor courts, so we’ll slot him in one quarterfinal spot against Marin Cilic. This would bolster his chance of qualifying for London. Meanwhile, ever since making the Roland Garros semifinals, Dominic Thiem has moved from disappointment to disappointment. Let’s give him the benefit of the doubt here.
Quarterfinals: Rafael Nadal over Sam Querrey; Juan Martin del Potro over Richard Gasquet; Jo-Wilfried Tsonga over Marin Cilic; Dominic Thiem over Jack Sock
Semifinals: Rafael Nadal over Juan Martin del Potro; Jo-Wilfried Tsonga over Dominic Thiem
Final: Rafael Nadal over Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
Follow Charles Blouin-Gascon on Twitter @RealCBG