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Sunday Briefing - Basel, Valencia

Federer© Getty ImagesRoger Federer is attempting to win the Swiss Indoors Basel title for the fifth time.

BASEL SUNDAY PREVIEW - FEDERER FACES WORLD NO. 1-BEATER NISHIKORI IN FINAL
An ATP World Tour legend and Basel hometown hero will try to end the dream week of one of the fastest-rising young stars on the ATP World Tour in the final of the Swiss Indoors Basel on Sunday.

Playing in his first ATP World Tour event since the US Open, 16-time Grand Slam champion and former World No. 1 Roger Federer showed some rust in his first few matches this week, but straight-set wins over Andy Roddick and Stanislas Wawrinka in the last two rounds have put him in an amazing 98th career ATP World Tour final (67-30 record). And the Swiss, who was born in Basel, has been particularly strong at this tournament: after putting together a good 14-6 record in his first six appearances, he is now 28-1 in his past six appearances here, winning titles in 2006-07-08 and last year, and making finals in 2009 (losing to Djokovic) and now 2011. This is the only non-Grand Slam tournament he has won more than 40 matches at (now at 42) and he will also try to make this the fifth ATP World Tour event he has won five or more times (also Halle, Wimbledon, US Open and the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals).

Japanese 21-year-old Kei Nishikori has had an absolute breakthrough fall season, particularly Shanghai, where he not only scored his second Top 10 win (over Jo-Wilfried Tsonga) and made his first ATP World Tour Masters 1000 semi-final, he also subsequently passed Shuzo Matsuoka as the highest-ranked Japanese player ever. This week in Basel he has gone to greater heights, scoring his third Top 10 win earlier in the week (over Tomas Berdych) and on Saturday upsetting Novak Djokovic to become the first Japanese man ever to beat a reigning No. 1 (and the first Asian player to beat a No. 1 since Paradorn Srichaphan beat Lleyton Hewitt at Tokyo in 2002). He is now into his third and biggest career final (his first two ATP World Tour finals came at the 250 level, winning Delray Beach in 2008 and finishing runner-up in Houston in April).

Federer and Nishikori will be playing for the first time. Federer is one of only two Top 10 players Nishikori has never played (also Gael Monfils). The last time Federer lost to a player aged 21 or younger was when a 21-year-old Ernests Gulbis beat him on the clay of Rome in May 2010.

Buy Tickets | Watch Live Online

WHAT’S AT STAKE
Winner:          € € 318,000 and 500 South African Airways ATP Ranking points            
Runner-up:       € 143,500 and 300 South African Airways ATP Ranking points
 
FINALS HISTORY
Nishikori:        Appearing in his 3rd  ATP World Tour final………………He is 1-1 in finals (0-1 in 2011)
Federer:         Appearing in his 98th ATP World Tour level final……….He is 67-30 in finals (1-2 in 2011)

FOUR-TIME TITLE WINNERS – Federer is trying to earn his fifth title in Basel, which would be the fifth tourn.:
Wimbledon                                6       2003-07, '09
US Open                                   5      2003-08
Halle                                         5      2003-06, '08
Barclays ATP World Tour Finals   5    2003-04, '06-07, ‘10   
Basel                                       4   2006-08, ’10   
Note: Others w/four: Australian Open, Cincinnati, Dubai,  Hamburg                        

BATTLE FOR LONDON -- There are three spots remaining for the season-ending Barclays ATP World Tour Finals in London.  Here are the updated 2011 ranking points leaders going into Sunday:
Bold indicates qualified  
1 Novak Djokovic          13,295
2 Rafael Nadal              9,500   
3 Andy Murray              7,200 
4 Roger Federer           5,470-X (add 200 pts. w/Final win) 
5 David Ferrer              4,300 
6 Tomas Berdych            2,940  
7 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga       2,935  
8 Mardy Fish                   2,875 
======================== 
Nicolas Almagro           2,370 
10 Juan Martin del Potro   2,315
11 Janko Tipsarevic          2,305
12 Gilles Simon                2,155
13 Robin Soderling           2,080
14 Gael Monfils                1,925
15 Alexandr Dolgopolov   1,835
16 Stanislas Wawrinka      1,810
 
CHAMPIONSHIP FEDEX HEAD 2 HEADS –

Centre Court

(WC) Kei Nishikori (JPN) vs (3) Roger Federer (SUI)  First Meeting

Nishikori FastFacts:
2011 Highlights:
F: Houston (l Sweeting); SF: Delray Beach (l Tipsarevic); Eastbourne (l Tipsarevic); Kuala Lumpur (l Tipsarevic); ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Shanghai (l Murray); QF: Chennai (l Tipsarevic)
YTD W-L: 36-20 (26-12 on hard)
YTD Titles: 0
Career Titles: 1
Date of Birth: December 29, 1989
South African Airways ATP Ranking: 32

• Nishikori, 21, a wild card entry, is making his second ATP World Tour final showing of the season and third in his career (1-1)…He made his Basel debut on Tuesday with a 36 63 62 win over No. 7-ranked Tomas Berdych, his third career Top 10 victory (3-10), on Thursday defeated Andreas Seppi 63 76(4), on Friday beat lucky loser Mikhail Kukushkin 64 57 64 and Saturday No. 1 Novak Djokovic 26 76 60
• Has broken opponents a tournament-high 18 times (in 52 games, 35%)
• The top Asian player on the ATP World Tour has a 36-20 match record on the season (26-12 on hard) and in his last tournament, he reached his first ATP World Tour Masters 1000 semi-final in Shanghai on Oct. 15 (l. to Murray)
• After Shanghai, he reached a career-high No. 30 on Oct. 17, becoming the highest-ranked Japanese man in ATP World Tour Rankings history (since 1973), which was held by Shuzo Matsuoka, who reached No. 46 on July 6, 1992…Comes in No. 32 and will move to around No. 25 with the final
• He came into this year with 26 career tour level matches between 2007-10 and has 36 this season
• He posted his second Top 10 win over No. 9 Tsonga in the second round of Shanghai (’08 US Open, d. No. 4 Ferrer) and then lost to No. 4 Murray in the semi-finals
• In late September, he reached his fourth ATP World Tour semi-final (or better) of the season in Kuala Lumpur, losing to eventual champion Janko Tipsarevic for the fifth time this year…His best result was a runner-up in Houston (l. to Sweeting) in April…He also was a semi-finalist in Delray Beach in February and Eastbourne in June (l. to Tipsarevic both times)

Federer FastFacts:
2011 Highlights:
W (1): Doha (d Davydenko); F (2): Dubai (l Djokovic); Roland Garros (l Nadal); SF (5): Australian Open (l Djokovic); ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Indian Wells (l Djokovic); ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Miami (l Nadal); ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Madrid (l Nadal); US Open (l Djokovic); QF (3): ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Monte Carlo (l Melzer); Wimbledon (l Tsonga); ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Cincinnati (l Berdych)
YTD W-L: 53-12 (35-7 on hard)
YTD Titles: 1/Career Titles: 67
Date of Birth: August 8, 1981
South African Airways 2011 ATP Ranking: 4

• Federer, 30, the four-time Basel champion, has a 42-7 career mark…Has reached the final here the past six years and eight overall in 12 showings…Has a 4-3 finals record, winning titles from 2006-08 and last year and runner-up in ‘09 (along with 2000-01)
• This is his first final appearance since Roland Garros in June (l. to Nadal) and overall his fourth of the season (1-2)…His lone title came in the first week of the season in Doha (d. Davydenko)
• He has won at least one ATP World Tour title for 11 straight years, best among active players along with Roddick…Has a 67-30 career finals record…His 67 titles rank No. 4 on the Open Era titles list
• He opened on Monday with a 76(3) 64 win over Italian Potito Starace, then defeated Jarkko Nieminen 61 46 63 for the 12th time and improved to 21-2 vs. Andy Roddick with a 63 62 victory…In semis, posted a 76 62 win over countryman Stanislas Wawrinka…Has held serve 40 of 43 games (93%)
• The Swiss superstar has a 53-12 match record this year (35-7 on hard) and he’s won 50-more matches for 10 straight years…He is playing in his first tournament since the US Open semi-finals (l. to Djokovic in five sets) on Sept. 10…His last match prior to this week was Sept. 18 when he defeated Aussie Bernard Tomic in four sets in a Davis Cup World Group playoff tie in Sydney
• He fell to No. 4 on Oct. 17 and the last time he played in a tournament outside the Top 3 was at ’03 Wimbledon where he entered No. 5
• He reached the final at Roland Garros (l. to Nadal in four sets) and snapped  Djokovic’s 43-match winning streak in the semi-finals, and followed with quarter-final at Wimbledon (l. to Tsonga in five sets after holding two-set lead)…Down Under, reached semi-finals at Australian Open (l. to Djokovic)
• In late February, he reached the final in Dubai (l. to Djokovic) and following month, he advanced to the semi-finals in Indian Wells (l. to Djokovic in three sets) and in the semis in Miami (l. to Nadal)
• He has 796 career match wins in ATP World Tour level play, which is No. 7 on the Open Era match wins list…Next target: No. 6 Stefan Edberg (806)

HOMETOWN SUCCESS – Basel is the sixth different tournament Federer has won at least 40 matches in during his career (the only one other than a Grand Slam event):
                           W-L    Titles
1) US Open          61-7      5
2) Wimbledon       59-7      6
Australian Open    59-8      4
4) Roland Garros  49-12     1
5) Basel               42-7       4
6) Miami              40-11     2

DOUBLES FINAL – TOP TWO SEEDS, LLODRA-ZIMONJIC, MIRNYI-NESTOR MEET IN TITLE MATCH

• The top two seeds battle it out in Sunday’s doubles championship as No. 1 Michael Llodra of France and Nenad Zimonjic of Serbia take on No. 2 Max Mirnyi of Belarus and Daniel Nestor of Canada. Both teams already have qualified for the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals in London, Nov. 20-27.
• The teams have split their previous four meetings this season with Mirnyi-Nestor winning their last encounter three weeks ago 36 61 12-10 at the ATP Masters 1000 Shanghai final.  In May, Llodra-Zimonjic won in the quarter-finals of ATP Masters 1000 Madrid and one month later, Mirnyi-Nestor won a pair of tie-breaks in the semi-finals of Roland Garros. In August, Llodra-Zimonjic won 63 64 in the semi-finals of ATP Masters 1000 Montreal.
• Llodra and Zimonjic are appearing in their eighth final of the season (3-4). Last month, they won in Beijing (d. Lindstedt-Tecau). In August, they won back-to-back crowns in Washington (d.  Lindstedt-Tecau) and the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 in Montreal (d. Bryans) and were runner-up in Cincinnati (l. to Bhupathi-Paes). In February, they were finalists in Rotterdam (l. to Melzer-Petzshner) and in May at ATP Masters 1000 Madrid (l. to Bryans). Since Wimbledon where they reached the semi-finals, they have a 24-3 match record.
• Llodra is 21-20 in ATP World Tour doubles finals (incl. three Grand Slam titles), Zimonjic is 42-29 in ATP World Tour doubles finals (incl. three Grand Slam titles).
 Mirnyi-Nestor are trying to collect their fourth title of the season (3-2) and in their career together. Last week they were finalists in Vienna (l. to Bryans) They won at ATP Masters 1000 Shanghai three weeks ago. In February, they won the title in Memphis (d. Butorac-Rojer) and at Roland Garros (d. Cabal-Schwank) in June. They were finalists in Miami (l. to Bhupathi-Paes) and semi-finalists at the Australian Open.
• They played twice in 2000, going 2-2, before reuniting this season. Mirnyi is 40-36 lifetime in finals while Nestor is 74-48.

VALENCIA SUNDAY PREVIEW - SURPRISE FINALISTS GRANOLLERS & MONACO TO CLASH
They were unseeded this week, but both of them have overcome the odds to reach Sunday’s final of the Valencia Open in this, the second-to-last week of the regular ATP World Tour season.

World No. 34 Marcel Granollers has not only taken out three seeds this week - No. 7 seed Alexandr Dolgopolov, No. 3 seed Gael Monfils and No. 6 seed Juan Martin del Potro - he also beat Marin Cilic, who had just won his first ATP World Tour title of the year in St. Petersburg and was just one spot out of the seeds. Granollers had lost five of his past six matches coming in, but these courts have been very good to him in the past - he made it all the way to the final here last year, falling to David Ferrer (this is the first tournament he has reached the final twice at). The 25-year-old Spaniard is 2-1 lifetime in ATP World Tour finals (winning clay court titles at Houston in 2008 and Gstaad this year, and finishing runner-up at this hard court stop last year).

Like Granollers, World No. 41 Juan Monaco also came in on some disappointing results, losing his past four matches - but he has taken out two seeds himself, No. 4 seed Nicolas Almagro and top seed and two-time Valencia champion Ferrer. Now he is in his 11th ATP World Tour final, but this is his biggest ATP World Tour final (his first 10 came at the ATP World Tour 250 level and on clay) and this is his first ATP World Tour final on hard courts. He had never been beyond the quarter-finals of this tournament in three previous appearances, but did capture the doubles title when it was held on clay in 2008 (alongside Maximo Gonzalez).

Granollers and Monaco are 1-1 in their head-to-head. Monaco won their first meeting on clay at Warsaw in 2008; Granollers got revenge in the quarters here in Valencia last year (Monaco won the first set in less than half an hour and led by a break in the third but Granollers won, 16 63 64).

Watch Live Online | Buy Tickets

WHAT’S AT STAKE
Winner:            € 325,000 and 500 South African Airways ATP Ranking points           
Runner-up:       € 151,000 and 300 South African Airways ATP Ranking points
 
FINALS HISTORY
 Granollers:        Appearing in his 4th ATP World Tour final………………He is 2-1 in finals (1-0 in 2011)
 Monaco:            Appearing in his 11th ATP World Tour final……………He is 3-7 in finals (0-0 in 2011)

BATTLE FOR LONDON -- There are three spots remaining for the season-ending Barclays ATP World Tour Finals in London.  Here are the updated 2011 ranking points leaders going into Sunday:
Bold indicates qualified  
1 Novak Djokovic          13,295
2 Rafael Nadal              9,500   
3 Andy Murray              7,200 
4 Roger Federer           5,470-X (add 200 pts. w/Final win) 
5 David Ferrer              4,300 
6 Tomas Berdych            2,940  
7 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga       2,935  
8 Mardy Fish                   2,875 
======================== 
Nicolas Almagro           2,370 
10 Juan Martin del Potro   2,315
11 Janko Tipsarevic          2,305
12 Gilles Simon                2,155
13 Robin Soderling           2,080
14 Gael Monfils                1,925
15 Alexandr Dolgopolov   1,835
16 Stanislas Wawrinka      1,810   

SUNDAY CHAMPIONSHIP  FEDEX HEAD 2 HEADS –

Agora

Marcel Granollers (ESP) vs Juan Monaco (ARG) Tied 1-1
08 Warsaw (Poland) Clay QF Juan Monaco 6-4 6-3
10 Valencia (Spain) Hard QF Marcel Granollers 1-6 6-3 6-4

Granollers FastFacts:
2011 Highlights:
W: Gstaad (d Verdasco); QF: Belgrade (l Volandri); Stuttgart (l Ferrero); Kitzbuehel (l Chela)
YTD W-L: 26-24 (12-11 on hard)
YTD Titles: 1/Career Titles: 2
Date of Birth: April 12, 1986
South African Airways 2011 ATP Ranking: 34

• Granollers, 25, is appearing in his second straight final here as he improved his record to 10-3 in Valencia after defeating No.7 seed Alexandr Dolgoplov in the first round, top Croat Marin Cilic 36 63 75, No. 3 seed Gael Monfils 76(12) 36 64 and No. 6 seed Juan Martin del Potro 64 76(4)…Last year’s runner-up (l. to Ferrer) as a qualifier also reached the quarters here in ‘07
• On July 31, he captured his second career ATP World Tour title in Gstaad, defeating countryman Fernando Verdasco…He also advanced to the quarter-finals in Belgrade (l. to Volandri) in May and Stuttgart (l. to Ferrer) and Kitzbuehel (l. to Chela), all on clay
• Has a 26-24 match record on the season (11-12 on hard, 14-12 on clay)…He comes in ranked No. 34 and reached a career-high No. 30 on Sept. 12 after reaching a Grand Slam-best 3rd Rd. at US Open
• Has a 3-10 career mark vs. Top 10 opponents (1-7 this year) after defeating No. 10 Monfils on Friday…His previous win came over No. 8 Robin Soderling in the first round at the ‘10 Australian Open
• His lone ATP World Tour singles title came in April 2008 on clay in Houston where he defeated No. 8-ranked James Blake in the final in three sets
• One of seven Spaniards to win an ATP World Tour title this season (Almagro-3, Nadal-3, Ferrer-2, Andujar, Ferrero, Granollers, Robredo)…Spain is 12-19 in finals this season (co-leader w/Serbia)
 
Monaco FastFacts:
2011 Highlights:
QF: Buenos Aires (l Wawrinka); Acapulco (l Ferrer); Winston-Salem (l Roddick)
YTD W-L: 28-24 (12-11 on hard)
YTD Titles: 0/Career Titles: 3
Date of Birth: March 29, 1984
South African Airways ATP Ranking: 41

• Monaco, 27,  the No. 3 Argentine on the ATP World Tour (behind No. 14 del Potro, No. 28 Chela), is making his first final appearance in his fourth straight appearance in Valencia (9-3 mark)…He is playing in his first career ATP World Tour hard court final and 11th overall final in his career (3-7)…His previous best result here was the quarter-finals in 2008 (l. to Almagro) and last year (l. to Granollers)
• His last ATP World Tour final came in Santiago in February 2010 (l. to Bellucci) and last title came in Kitzbuehel on July 29, 2007 (d. Starace)…Won all three of his titles in ‘07
• This week en route to his first ATP World Tour final of the season, has defeated  No. 4 seed Nicolas Almagro 64 36 64, top Italian Fabio Fognini 63 61, former No. 1 Juan Carlos Ferrero 63 63 and top seed/defending champ David Ferrer 75 16 63
• He was a quarter-finalist three times, in February in Buenos Aires (l. to Wawrinka) and Acapulco (l. to Ferrer) and in August in Winston-Salem (l. to Roddick) prior to US Open
• He enters with a 28-24 match record on the season (12-11 on hard) and his best hard court result was in Winston-Salem…His previous best result was the 3rd Rd. in Miami (l. to Federer) in March
• Has a 12-34 career record vs. Top 10 opponents (3-6 this year) and prior to his win over No. 5 Ferrer, his other wins came on clay in May over No. 10 Gael Monfils at ATP Masters 1000 Madrid and No. 10 Mardy Fish at ATP World Team Chp. in Duesseldorf
• Comes in ranked No. 41 and looking to finish in Top 50 for fifth straight year (best No. 23 in ’07)

DOUBLES FINAL – BRYAN BROTHERS TAKE ON BUTORAC-ROJER
• World No. 1 Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan take on unseeded Eric Butorac and Jean-Julien Rojer
in Sunday’s championship.
• The Bryans wrapped up the year-end No. 1 ranking for the seventh time in nine years with their first round win and they are appearing in their 11th final of the season (7-3). Last Sunday they won in Vienna for their first title since Wimbledon in July. Their other titles have come at the Australian Open, Houston, Monte-Carlo, Madrid, and Queen’s Club in London.
• The Bryans have won a record 74 doubles titles together (74-41 in career finals). They are appearing in their first Valencia final.
• Butorac and Rojer  haven’t lost a set all week (including in their 75 64 first  round upset of No. 2 seeds Mariusz Fyrstenberg and Marcin Matkowski).
• They have a 5-2 record together in ATP World Tour doubles finals. They have moved into the No. 8 and final spot for the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals in London and if they win, they will up 200 valuable ranking points.
•  Individual doubles final W-L: B.Bryan (74-41), M.Bryan (76-42), Butorac (12-4), Rojer (5-7)

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