Friday, October 26, 2007

Know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em

Plenty of indoor action heating up in the race for Shanghai on the ATP. But I guess the biggest news (and you know it's big when you see the headline on the front page of Yahoo!) is what's going on in St. Petersburg and (the accused of gamblin' man) Nikolay Davydenko.

Of course, I wasn't at the match, but I wonder: Is there a target on Nikolay's back? How many times do you hear of a player getting warned for lack of effort? I'm willing to give Nikolay the benefit of the doubt on this one because I know I've seen players hit a bad patch after dominating for a while. And I definitely hope that's all there is to it because nobody under such scrutiny for possibly throwing matches could be that stupid to try it again, right?

Anyway, I want to make some final-round predictions for these ATP tournaments this week:

In the aforementioned St. Pete, I'm going with Andy Murray over Ernie Gulbis in his first career final. I think Andy's playing the best of the Shanghai contenders.

In Switzerland, it'll be R-Fed over the Bagh Man (Roger Federer over Marcos Baghdatis for the unitiated!). Then Roger will withdraw from Paris, citing fatigue or something.

In Lyon, Ivan Ljubicic over my man Jo-Willie, aka Jo-Wilifred Tsonga, also making his finals debut this weekend.

You've read it here first: Barring injury, Gulbis and Tsonga will be top-15 players by the end of next year.