John McEnroe Tennis Academy
  | By Long Island Tennis Magazine Staff
Photo credit: Calvin Rhoden

With just five singles berths remaining for the year-end Barclays ATP World Tour Finals, Stan Wawrinka and Marin Cilic are on the brink of joining Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal in the elite eight-man field. The season finale will be contested at London’s The O2 Arena, Nov. 9-16.

Wawrinka, the Australian Open and Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters champion, is next in line to qualify at fourth in the Emirates ATP Race to London. He reached the semifinals in his debut last year.

Cilic surged into strong contention–up eight places to fifth in the year-to-date standings–after winning his first Grand Slam championship at the U.S. Open yesterday. Cilic, who did not drop a set after reaching the quarterfinals at Flushing Meadows, including a straight-sets win over Federer, is looking to make his debut at the ATP World Tour Finals.

Kei Nishikori’s run to his first-ever Grand Slam final at Flushing Meadows has also given him a strong chance of qualifying for the first time. The 24-year-old Nishikori, who had been uncertain he would even be able to compete at the U.S. Open after missing the Masters 1000s in Toronto and Cincinnati with a toe injury, is up to sixth in the Emirates ATP Race to London. Nishikori beat Milos Raonic, Wawrinka and Djokovic over 14 sets to become the first Asian man to reach a Grand Slam final.

David Ferrer and Tomas Berdych currently occupy the final qualification spots, but are closely pursued by Raonic, Grigor Dimitrov and Andy Murray, all of whom are within 400 points of each other. Young guns Raonic and Dimitrov, both Wimbledon semifinalists this year, are looking to qualify for the first time.

The ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournaments in Shanghai and Paris have 1000 Emirates ATP Rankings points for the winner, while there are four ATP World Tour 500s to be played in Beijing, Tokyo, Valencia and Basel.