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2019 Paris Masters: Nadal, Djokovic Renew Battle for #1

Robert Duff

by Robert Duff in Tennis

Updated Mar 31, 2020 · 11:09 AM PDT

ATP Paris Masters
Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic will renew their battle for #1 in the ATP world rankings at this week's Paris Masters. Photo by Marianne Bevis (Flickr).
  • Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic will renew their battle for #1 in the ATP world rankings at this week’s Paris Masters
  • A tournament win for Nadal could clinch #1 status for him in 2019
  • The last two spots in the ATP Finals will also be up for grabs at the Paris Masters

The Paris Masters will feature the latest battle in the duel to be #1 in the ATP world rankings between Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic. But it’s not the only prize that will be hotly contested during the tournament.

The race to fill the last two spots in next month’s ATP Finals in London, England are also in play, and that should lead to some fantastic tennis.

Oddsmakers established Djokovic as the +165 betting favorite.

Paris Masters Men’s Singles Odds

Player Odds
Novak Djokovic +165
Rafael Nadal +400
Roger Federer +400
Daniil Medvedev +450
Alexander Zverev +1800
Dominic Thiem +2000
Stefanos Tsitsipas +2200
Matteo Berrettini +3300
Karen Khachanov +4000
David Goffin +5000
John Isner +5000
Stan Wawrinka +5000

*Odds taken on 10/26/19.

The last two Paris Masters winners came from outside the world’s top 10 players. Karen Khachanov won in 2018 as the ATP’s 18th-ranked player. Jock Sock was ranked #22 in the world when he won this event in 2017.

Djokovic Masters Paris

Who’s #1? Right now, that would be Nadal but when it comes to this tournament, the Spaniard would probably prefer to forget Paris.

Nadal is winless in this event. His only final appearance came at the 2007 Paris Masters. Nadal lost 6-4, 6-0 to Argentinian David Pablo Nalbandian.

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Injuries hampered Nadal at the past two Paris Masters. He opened both years as the #1 seed. Last year, an abdominal injury led to his withdrawal before the start of the tournament. In 2017, Nadal withdrew with a knee injury prior to his quarterfinal match with qualifier Filip Krajenovic, who’d go on to play Sock in the final.

Djokovic’s Paris memories are far more sweet. He’s won the most titles (four) and matches (32) in tournament history. Djokovic captured his first Paris Masters in 2009. He won three in a row from 2013-15.

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Last year, Djokovic lost 7-5, 6-4 to Khachanov in the final.

The Serbian’s succes at Paris could be vital to his hopes of overtaking Nadal for the #1 spot in the ATP rankings. Nadal currently leads the standings by 1,280 points. If he were to win here, he’d all but clinch the crown.

However, with 1,000 points up for the taking by the winner, a Djokovic victory would leave it all to be decided at the ATP Finals in London. The winner of that event pockets 1,500 points.

Fighting For Survival

There will be another slugout for spots on the docket at the Paris Masters. There’s still two positions available in the eight-player field for the Nov. 9-17 ATP Finals. Nadal, Djokovic, Roger Federer, Daniil Medvedev, Dominic Thiem and Stefanos Tsitsipas are in. Several others own realistic hopes of filling one of the final two placements.

At the top of that list is Alexander Zverev, the defending ATP Finals champion. He’s currently #7 in the standings. Italy’s Matteo Berrettini, Spain’s Roberto Batista Agut and France’s Gael Monfils are next in the points order.

However, depending upon how the Paris Masters plays out, any of David Goffin, Fabio Fognini, Kei Nishikori, Diego Schwartzman, Stan Wawrinka or Khachanov could play their way into the top eight and one of those two spots in the ATP Finals.

A Graveyard For Favorites

Paris loves the underdog. Djokovic in 2014 and 2015 is the only #1 seed to win the Paris Masters since Andre Agassi in 1999.

Paris also pays bettors well. Last year, Khachanov won at odds of +4000. In 2017, Sock opened at +8000 odds to win the tournament.

Keeping that in mind, who are some value bets worth giving a look?

It’s difficult to avoid considering Medvedev. He’s reached the final in each of his last six tournaments. He’s won his last two and three of the past four events.

Form doesn’t seem to be a factor in Paris, though. Sock was 3-7 in his previous 10 matches prior to his 2017 triumph.

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Khachanov and Thiem were in the final four last year. John Isner was a semifinalist in 2017.

Among those seeking an ATP Finals spot, world #11 Berrettini is playing solidly. He was a semifinalist at Shanghai and a quarterfinalist in St. Petersburg and at the US Open.

Pick: Matteo Berrettini (+3300).

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