Wednesday, October 31, 2012
Posted: 31 Oct 2012 05:30 AM PDT
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Janko Tipsarevic have been dealt blows in their bids to reach the end-of-season ATP Tour Finals in London, with the duo both being forced to retire during their first-round matches of the Valencia Open.
The two players currently occupy the final two qualifying places for the season-ending event at the O2 Arena, but there will now be doubts over whether either player would be fit enough to compete even if they do qualify.
Frenchman Tsonga was forced to call the trainer early in his opening round clash against Xavier Malisse when he sustained a back injury, making the decision to withdraw from his match at 3-1 down. Tipsarevic was 5-4 down to Gilles Simon when a shoulder problem forced him to retire in the first set.
Both players may have taken the decision to pull out of the tournament in Spain in order to save themselves for the Tour Finals, but there is still no guarantee that both players will have done enough to qualify.
Juan Martin Del Potro now climbs ahead of Tipsarevic in the rankings, with the Argentinean looking to make his first appearance at the end-of-season tournament since reaching the final in 2009, though most Betfair Tennis Tips think he will struggle to make an impact at the 02 Arena.
All this may become irrelevant should Rafael Nadal's on-going knee problems force him to pull out of the tournament in London. The Spaniard hasn't played since his second round defeat at Wimbledon, and there is a wide-held belief among Tennis match previews that the number four seed will write off 2012 and focus on ensuring he is fit enough to play at the Australian Open in January.
That would open up another place at the O2, which could see all three players reach the final tournament of the year.
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