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ATP Race: Who will join Nadal and Federer in London?

ATP Race: Who will join Nadal and Federer in London?

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by Jovica Ilic

After the US Open, the players had a chance to defend the colors of their countries in the Davis Cup or to take some much-needed rest before the final 7 weeks of the season in the battle for London, with 3750 points up for grab. Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer have already secured their spots at the World Tour Finals and it is clear that the field will be completely different from what we saw in 2016.

Namely, Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray, and Stan Wawrinka are ruled out from the rest of the season, and the chances of other 3 players (Milos Raonic, Kei Nishikori, and Gael Monfils) of reaching London again are not very high at the moment.

Alexander Zverev, by far the youngest players in the Top 30, is looking good to secure his place in London, with 4220 points in the Race at the moment, despite another poor Grand Slam result at the US Open.

Dominic Thiem is 4th, with 3715 points on his tally, and he should qualify as well. Last year he ran out of gas by the last part of the season, playing a lot of tournaments and winning almost 60 matches on the Tour, and he is the better physical shape now (we will check his form in Chengdu, Tokyo, and Shanghai).

Grigor Dimitrov is on 3105 points and he is hoping for another strong finish of the year, just like in 2016 when he played in the final of Beijing and the semis of Chengdu and Stockholm.

It seems that Grigor will take some rest in the next weeks and come back in Beijing and Shanghai, eyeing to book his place in London with a couple of strong runs. Marin Cilic is just 110 points behind him and we should see Croat at the World Tour Finals as well if everything goes right for him in the remaining weeks of the season.

Just like Grigor, Marin will take some rest and come back in Tokyo, preparing himself for Shanghai Masters and trying to repeat his results from 12 months ago when he won Basel and played in the semis of Tokyo and Paris. These 6 players are probably locked for London berth, but the chase for the remaining 2 places will be wide open! US Open semi-finalist Pablo Carreno Busta moved to 7th place in the race, and 875 points separate a big bunch of players, all the way to John Isner, Nick Kyrgios and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, who all collected 1700 points.

Pablo will play in Metz, Beijing, and Shanghai, looking to carry his form from New York and add some valuable points to his tally that will keep him above the other players in the standings. Last year, he won the title in Moscow and he will target another success on the ATP 250 level, with as better results as possible in the higher category events in order to punch his London ticket.

Sam Querrey is currently 8th, 160 points behind Spaniard, after a very solid season he has so far. Sam has been in a very poor form last year at this time and he will have to play much better if he wants to gather enough points to resist against the contenders behind him.

US Open finalist Kevin Anderson is on 2335 points, finally finding his old form that he had before the surgery. If he keeps his New York form, Kevin will be very dangerous on fast hard courts and he will try to pass Carreno Busta and Querrey as soon as possible, placing himself in the driving seat in the battle for London.

David Goffin lost his drive completely after that injury he suffered at Roland Garros, but he at least reached the last 16 at the US Open, where he lost to Andrey Rublev.

The Belgian was rock solid in the final part of the season in 2016, advancing to the semis of Metz and Antwerp and losing the final of Tokyo to Nick Kyrgios (quarter-final in Shanghai as well). He will be forced to repeat all that if he wants to stand a chance of reaching London, standing 355 points behind Querrey at the moment.

He is well capable of erasing that deficit but only if he brings his A game, starting from Metz (he will play Shenzhen, Tokyo, and Shanghai after that). Tomas Berdych is another 75 points behind Goffin and he will really have to produce something special if he wants to stay in touch for the place at the World Tour Finals.

12 months ago, he won Shenzhen and played in the semis of St. Petersburg, but his form has been questionable for quite a while now. Roberto Bautista Agut collected 1915 points so far in 2017, 520 less than Querrey, quite a big gap to catch up in the rest of the year.

He was the Shanghai finalist in 2016 and he needs something similar this time as well, starting from St. Petersburg where he was the semi-finalist 12 months ago. Milos Raonic, who played at the WTF in 2016, is further behind the Spaniard, and he struggled with injuries big time in the last year or so.

Milos will make his comeback at Tokyo and Shanghai, but his chances of earning the London berth are not that high, as we don't know will he be able to bring his best tennis after problems with his wrist. John Isner, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, and Nick Kyrgios are all capable of scoring some big results in the next 7 weeks, and we will see them in action in Beijing and Shanghai.

If some of them manage to close the gap to Carreno Busta and Querrey, we should get a super exciting final few weeks, with a grand finale in Paris, where the remaining travelers for London should be decided. Current standings:

 
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