2017 ATP Finals
The London Masters, or otherwise known as the ATP Finals is the last remaining men’s tennis tournament played at the o2 arena in London. It will take place from the 12th to the 19th of November. The season-ending competition only contains the highest-ranked singles and double players on the ATP World Tour. The winner of the 48th edition will win 1.7 million dollars. Last year Andy Murray was the champion on his home turf. This year he will not compete, and Rafael Nadal will take the favourites spot. Roger Federer Is just behind. These two will be the massive favourites. Nadal is on 10,645 points while Federer is not far behind with 9,005 points on the overall table. It is looking very unlikely that Roger will pass Nadal, unless Nadal gets knocked out very early or pulls out through injury. Jack Sock is an emerging talent in the USA and just clinched a place in the tournament after winning the Paris open. Look out for this special talent. 6 other players qualify, 10 in total. Alexander Zverev was third to qualify behind the favourites after winning the Italian open and the Rogers cup. Dominic Thiem is another threat, but the Austrian is still looking for his first win this season. Grigor Dimitrov was winner of the Southern and Western Open which allowed him to qualify. David Goffin from Belgium and Stan Wawrinka from Switzerland are still looking for their first win. So who can win? Roger or Nadal? It will be close, both have been outstanding this season.
The World Cup playoffs
The World Cup Qualifiers group stages are finished for the European and CONMEBOL teams. Now we look forward to the playoffs, for the last remaining teams desperately trying to qualify. They start from the 9th of November. There will be 4 teams qualifying from Europe, and 2 other teams from around the world. The African nations will be also competing that week in their final round of the qualifiers. The draw for the second round (play-offs) was held on 17 October 2017 at the FIFA headquarters in Zürich. The 8 teams from Europe will face each other in a two-legged playoff. The countries were seeded according to their FIFA rankings. Around the world. Australia will face the CONCACAF 4th placed team, Honduras while New Zealand will face the CONMEBOL 5th placed team, Peru. First up on the 9th of November, we have two exciting fixtures. Northern Ireland host Switzerland and Greece travel to Croatia. The Greeks and Croatians would be two very equal teams, but Northern Ireland will have to work hard to beat Switzerland who were the best second placed team in Europe, their only defeat came by the European Champions. Greece have great experience in major tournaments, winning the European championships before. On the 10th the Italians will travel to Sweden and across the ocean Honduras host Australia. On the 11th Denmark will play Ireland and New Zealand play Peru. The following they all play each other again.
Who do we think will qualify? There are a few tough fixtures that will be hard to call, like the Denmark v Ireland game. Denmark are better on paper, but you can never write off the Irish. With such a great defence, they are so hard to knock down, and they love to play on the counter attack with long balls. However, Denmark have a similar type of style, so the Irish will have to be careful. If they snatch an away goal they are in a huge chance of qualifying. Northern Ireland have a similar style, but will be facing a very strong Switzerland side, maybe the best ever. Croatia have a bad ass squad. Modric, Rakitic and Perisic in midfield, they are a dangerous side. They play the Greeks, who have a poor team compared to recent years. Sweden and Italy will be tough to call, but the Italians will always be the favourites no matter what. New Zealand should be no match for Peru. Honduras and Australia will be a close one to call.
Davis Cup Final
The Davis Cup is a tennis event every year consisting of teams made up from their respectful countries, in a knock-out format. It is described as “The World Cup of Tennis”. It started in 1900 as a challenge between the USA and the UK. 136 nations now enter the competition. USA are the most successful team, behind is Australia. Last year Argentina became champions of 2016 for the first time in the competition.
The 2017 Davis cup takes place from the 3rd of February to 26th November 2017. Only the final remains. Belgium will be against France in Lille. The World group is the highest of the groups, consisting of the top 16 countries in the world. Below them are four more divisions, split into their continents. Europe competes with Africa; East Asia is with Oceania and north and south America compete as one. The eight teams who lost their match in the first round of the World Group first round and the eight winners of the second division compete against each other in the World Group Play-offs for a spot in the big league. Winners of 2016, Argentina, lost their first round to Italy, so they will play in the play-offs to retain their spot in the top division. Belgium knocked out the Italians in the Quarterfinals, The Aussies beat the most titles team, USA, while France cruised through Britain. Serbia crushed the Spanish but were held by the French in Lille, France going through to the finals. They now face Belgium on the 24-26 November after the Belgians beat Australia 3-2. Belgium are looking for their first title. David Goffin must lead out his team to win, after being disappointing runners-up in 2015. France have won 9 times, and look to be favourites in this final, which will be their first title in 16 years.