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US Open 2007

Nikolay Davydenko© Getty ImagesRussian Nikolay Davydenko, fresh off his US Open semifinal run, stands fourth in the Race to the Tennis Masters Cup Shanghai.


THE RACE TO SHANGHAI

Following the US Open, the final five spots for the Tennis Masters Cup in Shanghai are up for grabs, with 70 ATP Race points separating No. 7 from the No. 20 position. The top three players of Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic have already secured a place for the season-ending championship. Seven of the Top 12 (as of Sept. 10) appeared in last year's Tennis Masters Cup.

US Open quarterfinalists Tommy Haas and Carlos Moya made significant improvements after the final Grand Slam tournament of the season. Haas jumped from No. 12 to No. 8 and Moya from No. 13 to No. 9 afterwards. Another quarterfinalist Juan Ignacio Chela went from No. 20 to No. 15.

US Open semifinalist Nikolay Davydenko put himself into strong position at No. 4 and he is trying to qualify for the third straight year. Andy Roddick, at No. 5, is 19 points behind the Russian. Spaniard David Ferrer, who reached his first Grand Slam semifinal at Flushing Meadows, moved up one spot to No. 6

Recent history has shown that players in the Top 8 ATP Race points standings after the US Open are nearly automatic to qualify for the Tennis Masters Cup. In that five year span between 2002-06, 38 of the 40 players in the Top 8 post-US Open qualified for the year-end championship. During that period only two players who were in the Top 8 after the US Open failed to earn a spot in the Tennis Masters Cup (excluding injuries).

The last time that occurred was in 2002 when Tim Henman (No. 4) and Haas (No. 8) were in position to qualify but fell short in November. Albert Costa, who captured Roland Garros that year, was No. 11 but gained entry as a Grand Slam champion. Costa bumped Henman (No. 8) and Haas (No. 10) in the Race standings that were used for entry. Roger Federer was No. 10 and Jiri Novak No. 11 after the US Open in '02 but finished strong during the indoor circuit to improve to No. 6 and No. 7, respectively, to qualify for the first time.

Here is a look at the Race to Shanghai (as of Sept. 10): 

Player

ATP Race Points

1) Roger Federer #

1171 +

2) Rafael Nadal #

1012 +

3) Novak Djokovic

802 +

4) Nikolay Davydenko #

485

5) Andy Roddick #

466

6) David Ferrer

382

7) James Blake #

321

8) Tommy Haas

316

9) Carlos Moya

315

10) Ivan Ljubicic #

303

11) Fernando Gonzalez

296

12) Tommy Robredo #

292

13) Tomas Berdych

290

14) Mikhail Youzhny

281

15) Juan Ignacio Chela

279

16) Richard Gasquet

266

17) Guillermo Canas

265

18) Marcos Baghdatis

258

19) Lleyton Hewitt

256

20) Juan Monaco

251

+ Qualified
# Competed in last year's Tennis Masters Cup



INDOOR SEASON PREVIEW

The ATP's upcoming indoor tournament swing of 11 events, culminating in the season-ending Tennis Masters Cup in Shanghai, begins September 24 in Bangkok. Last year all 11 indoor winners finished in the Top 20 South African Airways ATP Rankings, including nine in the Top 10.

No. 1 Roger Federer went undefeated (17-0) and captured three indoor titles while Ivan Ljubicic won the most indoor matches during the year (20-5 mark) and he earned two titles. American James Blake won his first Asian title in Bangkok and repeated his Stockholm title. Serbian standout Novak Djokovic picked up his first career ATP indoor title in Metz and he finished with a 16-6 indoor mark.

Here is a look at the upcoming indoor circuit with last year's winners:


Tourn. Date

Tournament

2006 Winner ('06 Year-end Rank)

Sept. 24-30

Bangkok

James Blake (No. 4)

Oct. 1-7

Metz

Novak Djokovic (No. 16)

Oct. 8-14

Moscow

Nikolay Davydenko (No. 3)


Stockholm

James Blake (No. 4)


Vienna

Ivan Ljubicic (No. 5)

Oct. 15-21

AMS Madrid

Roger Federer (No. 1)

Oct. 22-28

Basel

Roger Federer (No. 1)


Lyon

Richard Gasquet (No. 18)


St. Petersburg

Mario Ancic (No. 9)

Oct. 29-Nov. 4

AMS Paris

Nikolay Davydenko (No. 3)

Nov. 11-18

TMC Shanghai

Roger Federer (No. 1)


NORTH AMERICAN SUMMER REVIEW

The North American summer circuit began on the grass courts of Newport, R.I., where FrenchmanFabrice Santoro made a successful tournament debut by defeating countryman Nicolas Mahut in the final. The 34-year-old Santoro became the oldest champion this season with his first singles crown in more than five years.

The first hard court stop of the summer was in Los Angeles and the Czech Republic's Radek Stepanekcaptured his second career ATP title, defeating James Blake in the final. Stepanek, who missed the last five months of last year with injury, performed "the worm" on the court after his title performance. Stepanek would later reach the semifinals in Montreal.

The next stop was in Indianapolis where Canadian No. 1 Frank Dancevic drove himself all the way from Niagra Falls - stopping in Detroit to pick up his girlfriend - after learning that he had snuck into the main draw as the last direct acceptance. He would go on to reach his first ATP final before falling to Russian Dmitry Tursunov. American teenager Sam Querrey advanced to his first ATP semifinal and posted his first Top 10 win over Blake, hitting a record 10 consecutive aces (34 total) in the quarterfinals.

The nation's capitol in Washington, D.C. was the site of the coming out party for 6'9" American John Isner, who reached his first ATP final by winning five consecutive matches in a third-set tie-break before falling to top American Andy Roddick. The 22-year-old Isner fired a non-Grand Slam tournament record 144 aces during the week. The Bryan brothers posted their third consecutive title in D.C.

The sixth ATP Masters Series tournament of the season in Montreal featured every player in the Top 20 and young Serb Novak Djokovic stole the show by defeating the Top 3 players in succession -- No. 3 Roddick in the quarterfinals, No. 2 Rafael Nadal in the semifinals and No. 1 Roger Federer in a thrilling third set tie-break final. The 20-year-old became the first player to defeat the Top 3 players in the world since Boris Becker in Stockholm in October 1994.

The following week at the ATP Masters Series Cincinnati tournament, Federer captured his 50th career title by defeating Blake in the final. The Swiss No. 1 picked up his second title in Cincy in three years and became the ninth player in the Open Era to win at least 50 career titles.

The last stop on the US Open Series came in New Haven and Blake capped an outstanding summer by defeating long-time friend Mardy Fish in the championship. It was Blake's second title in three years in his former hometown tournament. Up-and-coming American teenager Donald Young broke through to win his first career ATP match before losing to defending champion Nikolay Davydenko in a tight three-sets match.

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DEUCE, DEUCE Summer 2007

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