Nitto ATP Finals Preview Saturday Novak Djokovic and Alexander Zverev prepare for semi-final clash in Turin | ATP Tour

The opponents that have defined the 2021 hard court season once again take center stage in the pinnacle of the Nitto ATP Finals.

Novak Djokovic face to face Alexander Zverev in the ending period of Australian Open, NS Tokyo Olympics and US Open – now the two will clash in Turin as the world No. 1 aims for his eighth appearance in the finals of the end-of-season championships.

If Djokovic makes it to that final, he could face Daniil Medvedev for the fourth time in 2021 after they played in the final of Australian Open, NS US Open and Rolex Paris Masters. That is, if Medvedev is up to the challenge Casper Ruud, the only one of the 4 semi-finalists who was not a former Nitto ATP Finals champion.

Djokovic will aim to avoid a repeat of last year’s tournament, when he was knocked out of the season finale at the semi-final stage. He could hardly make it through the group stage more cleanly, beating Ruud 7-6 (4), 6-2 and Andrey Rublev 6-3, 6-2 to win the Green Team. But Zverev will be a much tougher challenge. Djokovic leads ATP Head2Head with a score of 7-3, but their past four matches have all been in consecutive sets.

This will be their third clash in Nitto ATP Finals, where Zverev beat Djokovic 6-3, 6-4 to claim the 2018 title after losing to Serb in the group stage. Djokovic beat Zverev 6-3, 7-6 (4) in the group stage of 2020.

“I’m looking forward to it,” Zverev said. “It’s always exciting and close when we’re playing together, so I’m looking forward to another tough game… There will be a lot of protracted rallies, we’ll run more and endure, according to one person. Somehow, there’s more.

“I think every game we’ve played is over. We need to be at our best and one or two points will decide the game. I also expect no difference here. “

<a href =Daniil Medvedev and Casper Ruud“/>

There is less history between second seed Medvedev and Ruud, who have played each other twice, Medvedev winning both games in consecutive sets. But history is no guarantee of future success. Just ask Ruud, who lost 0-4 and lost nine sets to Rublev as he came back from winning 2-6 to win 2-6, 7-5, 7-6 (5) and reach the semi-finals. on his Nitto ATP Finals launch.

“It will be a different uphill battle, different type of player than today, but one of the best in the world,” said Ruud. “He has proven himself to be one of the best in the last two or three years. I’ve faced him a few times and lost both, but I know a little bit about what I’m going to face and it’s going to be an interesting challenge. ”

Ruud will face an even more formidable streak – Medvedev’s eight-game winning streak at Nitto ATP Finals. After losing 0-3 on his debut in 2019, Medvedev has not lost a game, won the title unbeaten in 2020 and is now 3-0 in Turin. The Russians won the Red Group by defeating Hubert Hurkacz 6-7 (5), 6-3, 6-4 and Zverev 6-3, 6-7 (3), 7-6 (6) when he faced Jannik Sinner on Thursday night, and looked set for an early night as he led 6-0. However, young Italians – and the passionate crowd – want more. They got it, as Medvedev finally overpowered Sinner’s resistance after two hours and 29 minutes, 6-0, 6-7 (5), 7-6 (8). The world No. 2 will not lack motivation to win to reach the semi-finals on Saturday.

In the doubles event, the world’s number 1 couple Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic will meet the Anglo-American duo of Rajeev Ram and Joe Salisbury. The Anglo-American duo had to beat the experienced Colombians Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah to claim their spot in the semi-finals but rose up, winning 7-5, 2-6, 11-9 to go 3-0.

Nicolas Mahut and Pierre-Hugues Herbert will be looking to reach the third season-ending championship final as a team after winning the championship without dropping a set in 2019. Their route through the group stage is more dramatic this time. – they lost 11-13 in the tie-break to Ram and Salisbury – but not as dramatic as their opponents in the semi-finals Marcel Granollers and Horacio Zeballos, who saved four match points as they came back from 4-6, taking down 1-4 Ivan Dodig and Filip Polasek.

But the rest of the players can all put qualifying scenarios and round-robin assumptions behind their backs. When they take to the field at the Pala Alpitour on Saturday, only two possibilities remain – lose, and go home; won and reached the final on Sunday.

CENTER COURSE starts at 11:30am

[2] R. Ram (USA) / J. Salisbury (GBR) vs [1] N. Mektic (CRO) / M. Pavic (CRO)

Not before 2pm
[2] D. Medvedev (RUS) vs [8] C. Ruud (NOR)

Not before 6:30 pm
[4] M. Granollers (ESP) / H. Zeballos (ARG) vs [3] P. Herbert (FRA) / N. Mahut (FRA)

Not before 9:00pm
[1] N. Djokovic (SRB) vs [3] A. Zverev (GER) Nitto ATP Finals Preview Saturday Novak Djokovic and Alexander Zverev prepare for semi-final clash in Turin | ATP Tour

Charles Jones

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