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Andy Murray© Getty ImagesThe race is on to join Andy Murray, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals.

SPRINT TO THE FINISH
All roads lead to London following the US Open as the race heats up to qualify for the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals. Fans at The O2 are guaranteed to see the world’s three best players in action as Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and home favourite Andy Murray have already secured their places. But who will join them?

With only five more places remaining, the battle for qualification will intensify in the closing stages of the season – and it is not uncommon for the final spot to be decided at the last regular tournament of the year. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga is such an example, clinching his first ATP World Tour Masters 1000 title in a dramatic winner-take-all final against David Nalbandian in Paris last year to grab the final berth in the circuit finale.

As the 2009 ATP World Tour season reaches its intense climax, calculations will be ongoing right up until to the last minute as the drama unfolds to see which stars accumulate enough points to make it into the eight-man, eight-team field - which will come together in a round-robin format to play for $5 million in total prize money and the chance to be crowned ATP World Tour Champion.

With 1000 South African Airways 2009 ATP Ranking points still available at tour stops in Shanghai and Paris, plus four ATP World Tour 500 tennis tournaments on the calendar at Beijing, Tokyo, Valencia and Basel, there are opportunities galore for players to make last-minute bids to take part in the prestigious season finale. Don’t miss it.

ATP STRENGTHENS ASIAN STAGE
Asian tennis fans have much to look forward to in the autumn as the ATP World Tour’s finest prepare to light up the Orient in a three-week stretch that could make all the difference in the race to the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals.

Reigning ATP World Tour Champion Rafael Nadal leads a quality field at the Thailand Open in Bangkok while the ATP World Tour’s newest stop in Kuala Lumpur welcomes stars such as Nikolay Davydenko, Fernando Verdasco, Gael Monfils and Lleyton Hewitt to the Malaysian capital.

Crucial Ranking points will be up for grabs in the following two weeks with ATP World Tour 500 tournaments in Beijing and Tokyo before the world’s best players descend on the vibrant city of Shanghai for the new ATP World Tour Masters 1000 event. The Qi Zhong Stadium will once more play host, as it did for five years as the venue of Tennis Masters Cup Shanghai – the former season finale.

Many players have enjoyed their finest moments in front of the frenzied Shanghai crowds, none more so that David Nalbandian, who came back from two sets down to defeat World No. 1 Roger Federer in the 2005 Tennis Masters Cup final. Federer himself has twice been a champion in Shanghai (2006-07).

LOOK WHO'S BACK
Summer saw the return of some familiar faces making waves on the ATP World Tour circuit as Lleyton Hewitt, Juan Carlos Ferrero and Tommy Haas all enjoyed a return to top form.

Two-time former ATP World Tour Champion Hewitt continued his road back from hip surgery by upsetting World No. 5 Juan Martin del Potro – his first win over a Top 5 player since May 2007 (d. No. 3 Davydenko) – en route to reaching the Wimbledon quarter-finals, where he fell to eventual finalist Andy Roddick in five enthralling sets.

Tommy Haas, who peaked at No. 2 in the South African Airways ATP Rankings in May 2002, had Roger Federer on the ropes in the Roland Garros fourth round before embarking on a 10-match winning streak that included defeating World No. 4 Novak Djokovic twice as he captured his first grass-court title at Halle and reached the Wimbledon semi-finals (l. to Federer) for the first time.

Former World No. 1 Juan Carlos Ferrero pushed on from ending his six-year title drought in April by posting strong results in the grass-court season – reaching the semi-finals at The Queen’s Club before making a second appearance in the Wimbledon quarter-finals, losing to World No. 3 Andy Murray on both occasions. The Spaniard then transferred his skills to clay with success as he reached his second ATP World Tour final of the year in Umag (l. to Davydenko).

RODDICK JOINS 500 MATCH WINS CLUB
Andy Roddick become the fourth active player to register 500 tour-level match wins after defeating Sam Querrey in the third round of the Legg Mason Tennis Classic in Washington, D.C. The 26 year old joined Roger Federer, Carlos Moya and Lleyton Hewitt in an elite group to have achieved the career milestone. “I’ve done it with enough time [in my career] to add to it. It is validation of consistency in my career,” said Roddick, who is the 15th American player in the Open Era to reach the mark.

FEDERERS INTRODUCE TWIN GIRLS...VIA FACEBOOK
Proud first-time parents Roger and Mirka Federer decided to share the first photo of their twin tots, Myla Rose and Charlene Riva, with fans on the Swiss’ official Facebook page – sidestepping the option to sell it for a feature. Posting on the Wall of his profile, which is the No. 1 most popular athlete’s page on Facebook with more than two and a half million fans, Federer wrote: “As promised, here is a family picture that my dad took. He thinks he's becoming a professional photographer. It was very funny as both girls had the hiccups while we were trying to take a decent picture. The girls and mom are doing great. Thanks for all your warm wishes.” The Swiss had also used the social-networking site to break the news of the twins’ birth on 23rd July.

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