Marin Cilic has qualified for the ATP World Tour Finals after a 6-3 7-6(9) BNP Paribas Masters defeat of David Goffin.
I did not see it coming until recently, with my eyes firmly fixed on Dominic Thiem and Tomas Berdych: two men who have been inching towards the elite field for several weeks now. But apparently, that has been their issue. While Marin Cilic was virtually non-existent during the first half of the season, he has reached the Wimbledon quarter-finals, claimed Cincinnati Masters triumph and lifted the Basel Indoors trophy in a reinvigorated end-of-year campaign. In contrast, Berdych and Thiem – the latter especially – have been literally shuffling through the past few weeks. Now, one of them will pay the price.
David Goffin will rue being unable to serve out the second set against Cilic on Thursday, as his ensuing loss banished him from ATP World Tour Finals contention. Below are the qualification scenarios for the final three men with London chances.
DOMINIC THIEM (Current race ranking #9)
Thiem – who went down 6-4 6-3 to Jack Sock in round two – can qualify only if Berdych fails to reach the semi-finals AND Tsonga fails to win the title.
TOMAS BERDYCH (Current race ranking #10)
Berdych will qualify with a semi-final showing or better IF Tsonga does not win the Paris Masters. The Czech – who has made the elite eight for the past six consecutive years – beat Gilles Simon 6-4 6-3 in a late-night clash on Thursday.
JO-WILFRIED TSONGA (Current race ranking #11)
Tsonga will qualify ONLY IF he wins the Paris Masters title. Twice on Wednesday, the Frenchman was one point away from dropping out of London contention: as he faced two match points with Kei Nishikori serving for the match. Could the no. 11 seed’s miraculous 0-6 6-3 7-6(3) escape have breathed fresh life into his campaign?
I, for one, refuse to write him off.
Who will be London’s eighth player, and why? Make your argument in the comments section!