By Samuel Soladoye
At the season-ending tournament in London, the second round of matches in both groups has been concluded with Novak Djokovic’s demolition of Stanislas Wawrinka on Wednesday night. Federer has been in the grove while Novak Djokovic has been on fire. One of the most interesting features of the singles encounters so far decided is that no match has been decided in three sets; in fact, no match has been fiercely contested.The first match of the tourney saw Kei Nishikori topping Andy Murray 6-4, 6-4. The second match of the day saw Roger Federer exert sweet revenge on Raonic following his loss to him in Paris. The 17-time major winner saw off the young Canadian 6-1, 7-6(0).
In Group A’s opener, Stanislas Wawrinka was in devastating form as he blitzed through his duel with Tomas Berdych dropping only two games; 6-1, 6-1. Novak Djokovic must have been jealous of the Swiss’ feat and finished off Marin Cilic, the US Open Champion, in similar fashion; 6-1, 6-1.’
The first of the second round of matches in Group B featured the winners of Sunday’s matches and Roger Federer demonstrated his superiority over Nishikori winning 6-3, 6-2. In the night’s session, Andy Murray, in what has thus far remained the most competitive of matches at the 02 Arena, saw off Milos Raonic in straights sets; 6-3, 7-5. In Group A, Tomas Berdych revived the hopes of qualification by sweeping aside Marin Cilic 6-3, 6-1. In what was anticipated as the blockbuster thus far, Novak Djokovic firmly displayed his dominance by hammering Stanislas Wawrinka 6-3, 6-0. Dominance as depicted by the rankings? The players at the tourney are ranked as shown below.
Perhaps, the most intriguing of facts thus far is that no player has beaten an opponent ranked above him (you can do a check with the round up and the rankings). Ever questioned the credibility of the ATP rankings? The ATP defines the rankings as “… the merit-based objective method…” and this stance is quite unquestionable, at least as the displays thus far at the 02 Arena suggest. It is settled that in a tennis match, like the game of thrones, ‘there is no middle ground’ and the ATP rankings provide the hierarchy. However, the reality is that the hierarchy has never been the static reflection of the abilities of players. Otherwise, the lads battling at the 02 would never have been there. In fact, a Roger Federer would never have risen atop the pack and the Serb, who rules at the moment, won’t be in the race to end the season as number 1 for the third time. It’s high time a remainder was posted that the beauty of sports, sometimes, is found in upsets. If the routine thus far remains the governing norm at the 02, then there is no stopping Novak Djokovic’s triumph over Roger Federer in the final come the 16th day of November. On the 7th of September, Novak Djokovic was brought down to planet earth in shocking fashion by Kei Nishikori in their semi-final match at Flushing Meadows. The 14th ranked Marin Cilic, who emerged Champion at the US Open made it to the final after stunning a certain Roger Federer in straight sets. Wawrinka was king at Aussie Open crushing Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic. Wawrinka has on several occasions this season fallen to opponents ranked outside the top 20 this season and Federer suffered a fourth round loss at Roland Garros in the hands of Ernest Gulbis; upsets are part of the game and will be around forever. What is unknown is if they will spring up at the 02 and how soon they really will.
Stanislas Wawrinka, Kei Nishikori and Marin Cilic have each branded this ‘season career-best’ thus far. I am pretty sure same goes for Milos. I am more certain their bests have not come by an allegiance to keeping the hierarchical order on the South African Airway Rankings. Let’s get the upsets shows on! Till then, enjoy!