(Updated with results and revised standings after today’s results)
Paris Masters Semifinals:
First Semifinal (Gilles Simon vs. Jerzy Janowicz)
Amy’s Pick: After seeing Janowicz dismantle Andy Murray and Janko Tipsarevic in back-to-back matches, I’m certainly a believer in Janowicz’s abilities. But Simon is a grinder who can force Janowicz into errors by making him hit more shots to put away a point. Janowicz is a big talent, but you rarely see lightning strike three times in a row for a qualifier against top players. So I’ll have to go with Simon in straights.
Lindsay’s Pick: Okay this is a hard one for me. I mean, I’m completely on the New Jerzy Train (COPYRIGHT: ME), but can he keep this going? It’s really hard to imagine that he can, especially with someone as annoying…I mean, um, crafty…as Simon. I think it will be a great match, but Simon will revolutionalize his year by making the Finals in front of his home crowd. Simon in three sets.
Juan José’s Pick: This match could go in so many different directions. Janowicz was In Da Zone today, but will be playing his seventh match in Paris, given that he played qualies. The big Pole might be tired. And the crowd might get under his skin, since I assume they’ll be at Davis Cup level for Simon. On the other hand, Gilles Simon is really a poor man’s Andy Murray, and we saw what Janowicz did to him. I wrote this, so I can’t go against the Jerzy Train. He’ll win in three. I mean, he did this yesterday:
Second Semifinal (David Ferrer vs. Michael Llodra):
Amy’s Pick: Someone has to stop the Michael Llodra train in Paris, right? To make a gratuitously hyperbolic statement, Michael Llodra being the first man other than the Big Four to win a M1000 event since 2010 would be the virtual equivalent of Alex Bogomolov Jr. winning a Grand Slam in 2013. I expect Ferrer to return things to their proper order and beat Llodra down in straight sets.
Lindsay’s Pick: The “Ferrer deserves a Masters Title” is one of the more annoying and patronizing go-to lines in tennis, in my opinion. I mean, you pretty much get what you deserve as long as you’re healthy. So I’m scared for Ferrer here, I really am. The red carpet has been rolled out. Draws don’t get any easier than this. Pressure is on. And Llodra is tricky when he’s in form, which clearly he is. I’m picking Ferrer in three. And I’m holding my breath.
Juan José’s Pick: This is it. This is Ferrer’s chance to finally win a M1000. Elvis couldn’t have said it better. He’s playing very well, as witnessed today by his dismantling of the home favorite Jo-Willy Tsonga. Llodra has been serving well, but he’s up against a different class of returner than what he’s seen so far. Ferrer in two relatively straightforward sets.
Fed Cup Final (Serbia vs. Czech Republic)
To read Lindsay’s Fed Cup preview, click here.
First Rubber (Lucie Safarova vs. Ana Ivanovic)
Amy’s Pick: I think Safarova will come through in straights. She’s won the last three matches against Ivanovic, and is the more solid player in my mind, ranking disparity aside.
Lindsay’s Pick: I think this match will go three sets, and then I encourage everyone to take cover. Neither Lucie nor Ana have been particularly in-form lately, but home-field advantage and h2h are tipping me towards Safarova.
Juan José’s Pick: I’m going full on home field advantage. Safarova in two quick sets. The head-to-head will validate me.
(Lucie Safarova won, 6-4, 6-3)
Second Rubber (Petra Kvitova vs. Jelena Jankovic)
Amy’s Pick: Kvitova is the unknown factor in the Fed Cup final right now. Knowing she doesn’t feel her best after an illness forced her to retire from the WTA Championships in Istanbul last week, it’s hard to know what to expect from her. But I do believe she could play well below her best and still beat Jankovic. I’ll take Kvitova in three sets.
Lindsay’s Pick: Jelena Jankovic in three sets. Kvitova is definitely the better player here, but she has been ill for so much of the fall that her fitness will be suspect. After Ana falls, JJ will relish the chance to hog the Serbian hero spotlight and fight her way into a third set. Once there, Kvitova should have very little gas left. I want 1-1 at the end of the first day.
Juan José’s Pick: This is 2012 Jelena Jankovic, so there is no way I pick her on the road versus Kvitova, even if the last time we saw the latter she seemed overwhelmed with pressure, and then retired from the WTA Championships with a viral illness. I say the crowd carries Kvitova to a Kvitova-esque seesaw win in three very uneven sets.
(Petra Kvitova won, 6-4, 6-1)
Standings after the November 3rd Results (including the October 28 Picks):
Juan José: 6-1