Mover of the Week
Argentina’s #1 Juan Martin del Potro is enjoying quite the late-season surge. After fantastic runs to the semifinals in New York and Shanghai put him in contention for a spot at the World Tour Finals, the ‘Tower of Tandil’ strengthened his case further by defending his title in Stockholm. He played terrifically all week to battle into the final, recovering from a set down to defeat Fernando Verdasco in the semifinal. He then crushed the world #8 Grigor Dimitrov in the final, recording a 6-4 6-2 victory to win his 20th career title. How many more he would have won if not injury one can only guess at, but the 20 he has picked up still put him at an elite level.
Most impressive in his performance against Dimitrov was just how good his all-round game looked. He wasn’t reliant only on his huge forehand, as he was hitting his backhand with real confidence and played well in the forecourt. If del Potro can maintain that sort of level not only could he do the seemingly impossible and sneak into the World Tour Finals, but he could set himself up to challenge for the sport’s biggest titles again next year. As it is, though his ranking holds steady at #19, he crucially climbed to #14 in the Race to London. With Djokovic, Wawrinka and Murray above him and all confirmed to be absent for London that leaves him within striking distance of the top 8. It will be a mostly new-look field at the O2 this year, and if del Potro can make it, who knows how far his experience could take him?
Loser of the Week
South African Kevin Anderson’s dream run to the US Open final (lost to Nadal) in September put him in strong contention for a place at the World Tour Finals in London. But a loss to Fernando Verdasco in the quarterfinals of the Stockholm Open surely put paid to those ambitions for the world #17. Anderson endured a poor Asian swing by his standards losing in the second round in Tokyo and Shanghai. That left him some way behind his rivals for the remaining spots at the World Tour Finals, and he needed a good performance in Stockholm to stay in touch. He was perhaps unlucky to lose to Verdasco falling in two tiebreaks, but he managed just a point in both of those tiebreaks. That, unfortunately, is not good enough to mix it with the elite.
As well as falling one ranking spot from 16th to 17th in the world, Anderson remains behind Sam Querrey and Pablo Carreno Busta in the race despite the American not playing last week and the Spaniard losing first round. In short, Anderson had a good chance to make up ground on those ahead of him and he missed it. Instead, he now has del Potro and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga breathing down his neck.
Speaking of Jo-Wilfried Tsonga the Frenchman impressed in picking up his fourth title of the year in Antwerp. Astonishingly that is actually a career-best effort for him and yet he finds himself at his lowest ranking in October since 2007. But such has been the nature of the 2017 season, he is still in with a chance of qualifying for the O2. A good run in Vienna where he begins against Karen Khachanov and another good run in front of his home fans in Bercy could be enough to take him over the line.
Kremlin Cup champion Damir Dzumhur’s title may not change the Race to London stakes but it is another impressive achievement for the Bosnian. Since the summer he has been on a charge up the ATP Rankings and has now competed in three finals since July, winning the last two. He also clearly enjoys playing in Russia, adding the title in Moscow to the one he won in St Petersburg last month. He is now almost guaranteed a seeding at the Australian Open in January, and if his form lasts over the winter break he could have a deep run in Melbourne. As a result of his title, he has climbed seven spots in the rankings and is now at world #31.
Defeated finalists in Antwerp and Moscow Diego Schwartzman and Ricardis Berankis also enjoyed good weeks, albeit under different circumstances. The Argentine Schwartzman has established himself as a solid top 30 player, making the quarterfinals at the US Open earlier this year and making Federer work hard in Shanghai recently. He lacks the quality and power to become an elite player but has worked hard to make the most of the game he has and is currently reaping the rewards at a career-high ranking of #26.
Berankis of Lithuania was a hotly tipped prospect as a young man, finishing as Junior #1 when he was just 16. But he has never quite made it on the main Tour, with injuries and his slight size (he stands 5’9” tall) holding him back. But a run to the final in Moscow on a protected ranking is a fine achievement and earned him a deserved 43 spot rise in the rankings to #126.
- Rafael Nadal, 10465 points, no change
- Roger Federer, 8505 points, no change
- Andy Murray, 5290 points, no change
- Marin Cilic, 4505 points, no change
- Alexander Zverev, 4400 points, no change
- Dominic Thiem, 3935 points, no change
- Novak Djokovic, 3765 points, no change
- Grigor Dimitrov, 3650 points, no change
- Stan Wawrinka, 3450 points, no change
- David Goffin, 2855 points, no change
- Pablo Carreno Busta, 2855 points, no change
- Milos Raonic, 2600 points, no change
- John Isner, 255 points, moves up three places
- Sam Querrey, 2525 points, moves up three places
- Jo Wilfried Tsonga, 2490 points moves up two places
- Kei Nishikori, 2475 points, drops down one place
- Kevin Anderson, 2470 points, drops down one place
- Tomas Berdych, 2230 points, no change
- Juan Martin del Potro, 2225 points, no change
- Nick Kyrgios, 2010 points, no change
- Roberto Bautista Agut, 1935 points, moves up one place
- Albert Ramos Vinolas, 1925 points, moves up one places
- Jack Sock, 2005 points, drops down one place
- Gilles Muller, 1920 points, no change
- Lucas Pouille, 1780 points, no change
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