Saturday, November 28, 2009

Soderling and Davydenko Reach WTF Semis

Not unlike Group A, Group B had a 3-way tie amongst it's competitors to end the round-robin stage of the World Tour Finals in London, with Novak Djokovic, Robin Soderling and Nikolay Davydenko ending with 2-1 match records. The latter 2 battled it out in the night match on Friday night while Djokovic had to sit in anxiety awaiting his fate after beating Rafael Nadal 7-6(5), 6-3. In what I thought was one of the highest quality men's matches of the year, Davydenko extended his stay in London by defeating Robin Soderling, who was already assured a semifinal berth, 7-6 (4), 4-6, 6-3. The win for the Russian knocked the red-hot Djokovic out of contention by virtue of the sets won/loss records of the 3.

And if you're on of the few that is sure a head-to-head method would be better to determine who advances, look at it this way. Djokovic beat Davydenko, Davydenko beat Soderling, and Soderling beat Djokovic. Happy now?

The first semifinal matchup will be contested by Roger Federer and Nikolay Davydenko, and these two sort of definitely have quite a history, and a very one-sided one for that matter. Federer owns the edge in the head-to-head record 12-0, but with Davydenko's level of play right now, and Federer's slow starts, we could be in for a bit of a surprise.

In the 2nd semi, Soderling will face Juan Martin del Potro. Both of these huge-hitters love to control points and will hammer any shot that floats in the middle of the court, so the better mover will most likely come out with a win. The head-to-head is 1-1, and both matches were contested a while back, so recent play is a much more reliable factor. Soderling has played dynamite ball, taking out Rafa and Djokovic in straight sets, but his play dropped against Davydenko. JMDP opened in London with a loss to Andy Murray, but the Argentine has found his groove and last beat Federer.

Thanksgiving weekend just got a whole lot better.

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