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ATP World Tour Finals 2012: Predictions for Wednesday's Group A Matchups

LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 03:  Janko Tipsarevic of Serbia, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France, Novak Djokovic of Serbia, Roger Federer of Switzerland, Andy Murray of Great Britain, Tomas Berdych of Czech Republic and Juan Martin del Potro of Argentina stand on stage for guests during previews for the ATP World Tour Finals Tennis on November 3, 2012 in London, England. The world's top eight tennis players arrive at the Royal Court's of Justice for the official Barclays ATP World Tour Finals Gala, hosted by Great Ormond Street Hospital Children's Charity, and generously supported by Moet & Chandon.  (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
Julian Finney/Getty Images
Tim DanielsFeatured ColumnistNovember 7, 2012

The best thing about the ATP World Tour Finals is the endless amount of good matchups. No matter which two players are facing off, tennis fans know it's going to be a high-quality match, which isn't always true in other events, including majors.

Wednesday's schedule is a perfect example. It features a tremendous "main event" with Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray, but also Tomas Berdych against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. That's one of the worst possible combinations in the event and it should still be terrific.

Let's take a look at both matchups and make predictions for which players will come out on top as group play rolls on.

 

Novak Djokovic vs. Andy Murray

Djokovic and Murray have already faced off in several big matches this season. The Serbian sensation won the first in Australia, but Murray emerged victorious in the other two at the London Olympics and U.S. Open.

Overall, Djokovic leads the all-time advantage over Murray with nine wins in 16 meetings. That includes a recent victory at the Shanghai Masters. However, almost all the meetings have been close, so it's really a toss-up.

Both players won their first group match, meaning the winner on Wednesday will take control of Group A with one match left to go. The stakes are clearly high, but Djokovic and Murray have both learned how to adapt to pressure by now.

The one area where Djokovic doesn't get enough credit is the return of serve. Murray and Roger Federer are usually viewed as the top returners in the sport, but Djokovic belongs in the same class and his ability to break will be the difference.

Just like their meeting in Shanghai, look for this match to go the distance with Djokovic picking up a key break late in the third set to earn the win.

Prediction: Djokovic in three sets

 

Tomas Berdych vs. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga

This is an interesting matchup. Berdych has developed into the more reliable player with another strong season, but Tsonga has proven time and again that's he's capable of beating anybody on tour when he's firing on all cylinders.

The match will come down to which version of Tsonga shows up on Wednesday. He got thumped by Djokovic in his opening match, lacking any type of comeback fire after the top-seeded player won the first set in a tiebreak.

In the meantime, Berdych took Murray to three sets and played at a very high level to do it. Add in the fact he's defeated Tsonga in both meetings with him this season and he should enter the match as favorite.

With that said, being counted out usually fires Tsonga up and that's when he plays his best. The fan-favorite loves feeding off the crowd, letting emotion become a key factor. He's at his worst when he emotionally checks out of a match.

Expect to see an inspired performance from Tsonga en route to a three-set triumph. Just like Djokovic and Murray, a couple of vital points in the third set will tip it one way or another.

Prediction: Tsonga in three sets

 

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