The Tennis Masters Cup

masters-cup.jpgThe Tennis Masters Cup is a tennis tournament played annually at the end of each year and it involves the top eight players in the men’s tennis world rankings.Unlike all the other events on the men’s tennis tour, the Tennis Masters Cup is not a straightforward knockout tournament. The eight players are divided into two groups of four, and they play three round-robin matches each against the other three players in their group. From there, the two players with the best records in each group, progress to the semi-finals and the semi-final winners meet in the final to determine the champion.The Tennis Masters Cup was created on December 9, 1999. On that day, the Grand Slam Committee, the ITF and the ATP Tour announced that the ATP Tour World Championship and the men’s Grand Slam Cup would be discontinued and a new jointly owned, end of year men’s tournament to be known as the Tennis Masters Cup was created. The new Tennis Masters Cup hails a new level of co-operation and dedication for all the parties. This agreement incorporated the establishment of a decision-making body for the Tennis Masters Cup. The following was also agreed upon – a coordinated approach to the changes to the Rules of Tennis governed by the ITF; and a focused commitment to satisfy the independent scheduling goals of the Grand Slams, Davis Cup and ATP.For 10 years, the final highlight of the ATP season was the ATP Tour World Championship. From 1990 to 1995, it was played in Frankfurt, Germany, before moving to

Hannover in 1996.Andre Agassi, who defeated world No. 1 and 1989 Masters Champion Stefan Edberg, won the inaugural tournament.On November11, 2007, Rafael Nadal entered the semi finals with a gritty three set win over Frenchman Richard Gasquet in the first match of the 2007 circuit finals. Nadal rallied from a set down to win 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 and extended his perfect record against Gasquet to 4-0.In the second set, Nadal seized the early initiative by breaking for 3-1 but then Gasquet broke back immediately by again exploiting Nadal’s decision to back away wide to the forehand court and firing a winning forehand down the line. But Nadal claimed a second consecutive break – this time to love – and then held easily to blow open the set 5-2. Nadal, whose fierce topspin forehand found extra bite on the hard court, broke for 3-2 in the third set and held to close out the match.On November 12, 2007, Andy Roddick made an impressive start to his 2007 Tennis Master’s cup campaign and improved his unbeaten record against Nikolay Davydenko to 5-0 with a 6-3, 4-6, 6-2 win over the Russian. However, the American, who is likely to face a rematch with Davydenko in December’s Davis Cup final, broke the Russian for 2-1 in the third set when the Russian netted a backhand volley as he closed the net. Roddick, who fired nine aces, powered home; thereby claiming a second break before closing out the match.Roddick has qualified for the Masters Cup for five consecutive years (he withdrew with injury in 2005). He was a semifinalist in his first two outings, in 2003 and 2004, on home soil in

Houston. Last year, he lost in the round-robin stage but he did hold a match point against World No. 1 Roger Federer. Roddick is now chasing his third title of the year, having won in Washington and Queen’s. Davydenko is making his third straight appearance at the circuit finale. He reached the semifinals in his 2005 debut and fell in round-robin stage last year with 1-2 record. His lone title of this year came in

Moscow.On November 13 2007, Richard Gasquet vaulted into the semifinal contention and almost certainly ended World No. 3 Novak Djokovic’s Tennis Masters Cup aspirations with a 6-4, 6-2 win over the Serb in Shanghai on Tuesday. Just after two days, Underdog Spaniard David Ferrer continues to steal the headlines from his more celebrated peers at Tennis Masters Cup. On Thursday, he crushed young Frenchman Richard Gasquet 6-1, 6-1 to power into the

Shanghai semifinals with a perfect 3-0 record.Heading into the encounter, Djokovic knew he was out of contention for a coveted spot in the semifinals. But that did not prevent the Serbian from playing his heart out during the one hour, 44 minute match.

“I wasn’t trying to play for anybody,” said Djokovic, who reached his first career major final at the U.S. Open and won five titles this year. “I knew before the match I didn’t have any chances for the semifinals. But, of course, I always try to win whenever I get to the court.”

Anjuri Nayar