BNP Paribas Masters
(5) Tomas Berdych vs. (12) Feliciano Lopez: Berdych should be good to go for the World Tour Finals no matter what, but one more win would make him a virtual (not official) lock. He will almost certainly get it, too, having just destroyed Lopez 6-1, 6-2 in Beijing. Berdych in 2.
(14) Kevin Anderson vs. (3) Stan Wawrinka: Wawrinka’s first loss of 2014 came against Anderson. His last regular-season loss of 2014 will also come against Anderson. The Swiss finally won a tournament match for the first time since the U.S. Open when he beat Dominic Thiem on Wednesday, but his form is still questionable at best. Anderson in 3.
(Q) Lucas Pouille vs. (2) Roger Federer: The best week of Pouille’s career has included successful qualification followed by upsets of Ivo Karlovic and Fabio Fognini. The latter, though, is little more than an automatic bye right now. Federer, on the other hand, is the opposite. Count on the world No. 2 improving dramatically from his second-rounder against Jeremy Chardy. Federer in 2.
(1) Novak Djokovic vs. Gael Monfils. Monfils may be a trendy upset pick based on his close call against Djokovic this summer in Toronto, his pair of straight-set wins over Joao Sousa and John Isner, his home-court advantage in France, and Djokovic’s relative rust. Don’t get caught in that trap. Like Federer, Djokovic will improve round by round. Monfils, meanwhile, will worry more about entertaining the French fans than winning. Djokovic in 2.
(4) David Ferrer vs. Fernando Verdasco: In the Ferrer vs. Milos Raonic battle for a spot in London, the Spaniard had to play second on Wednesday and survived a three-setter against David Goffin in a must-win situation. This time around, it’s Ferrer who gets to take the court first and put the pressure on the Canadian. He will do it against an opponent he just disposed of 6-3, 6-2 in Valencia. Ferrer in 2.
(7) Milos Raonic vs. (11) Roberto Bautista Agut: Nothing would be more appropriate than Raonic’s bid for London coming to an end at the hands of Federer (that will likely be the case if both Ferrer and Raonic win on Thursday). The world No. 10 generally takes care of lower-ranked opponents but struggles immensely against the top guys. Expect the trend to continue. Raonic in 3.