The remaining spots in the World Tour Finals could be decided after two of the Paris quarerfinals are played on Friday. Milos Raonic faces a must-win situation against Roger Federer, while London contenders Kei Nishikori and David Ferrer are going up against each other.
(8) Milos Raonic vs. (2) Roger Federer
Raonic will need to pull off a significant upset and reverse a disturbing trend in his career if he wants to maintain hopes of qualifying for the World Tour Finals by the end of play on Friday in Paris. The 10th-ranked Canadian is 0-14 lifetime against the current top three players in the world (Federer, Novak Djokovic, and Rafael Nadal), including 5-32 in total sets. Raonic has been especially bad against Federer, with an 0-6 record and 3-14 mark in sets (0-10 in the last 10 sets between the two players). The No. 8 seed will get another shot at Federer in the BNP Paribas Masters quarterfinals after taking out Jack Sock and Roberto Bautista Agut.
Like his opponent, Federer also dropped one set en route to the last eight. The second-ranked Swiss fought past Jeremy Chardy 7-6(5), 6-7(5), 6-4 in round two before ousting qualifier Lucas Pouille 6-4, 6-4. He is sporting a perfect 14-0 record this fall, with titles in Shanghai and Basel. Both current form and their past history against each other suggest Federer should once again have little trouble with Raonic.
Pick: Federer in 2 with at least one tiebreaker
(4) David Ferrer vs. (6) Kei Nishikori
Ferrer will know if he is dealing with a must-win situation to reach London by the time he takes the court on Friday night, because Federer-Raonic is a day match. If Raonic goes down, Ferrer locks up a spot in London. Should the underdog spring a surprise, the Spaniard will once again need a victory to avoid elimination. He did it once in the second round against David Goffin then put pressure on Raonic by kicking off Wednesday’s action with a 6-1, 6-2 destruction of Fernando Verdasco.
This will be the eighth career meeting between Ferrer and Nishikori, with the U.S. Open runner-up having taken a 4-3 lead in the series thanks to a pair of tough three-set victories this year in Miami and Madrid. Nishikori is an incredible 51-11 for the season, which–not surprisingly–has him on the brink of World Tour Finals qualification (he clinches a spot with a win on Friday). So far in Paris the No. 6 has defeated Tommy Robredo and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in three sets. Ferrer seems like a man on a mission this fall and should have more in the tank than Nishikori not only at the end of physically-demanding season but also because he had a much easier third-round match.
Pick: Ferrer in 3