Nitto ATP Finals Preview & Prediction: Roger Federer vs Alexander Zverev (Semifinal #1)

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The semifinals are all set for the 2018 Nitto ATP Finals. Roger Federer had to shake off an uninspiring start to the tournament by claiming two successive wins to earn his spot in the last four. Alexander Zverev did it the hard way too, beating John Isner in his final group match to become the youngest semifinalist at the ATP Finals in nine years. That record was last held by Juan Martin Del Potro, and it shows the strides taken by the young German in his quest for glory.

Zverev’s semifinal opponent will be the 6-time champion of the Nitto ATP Finals, Roger Federer, who last won at this event in 2011 before Djokovic rose to be the dominant man in London. Zverev’s victory over John Isner was his 56th tour-level win this season, which is a career-best for the German. Surprisingly, with that win, he is also guaranteed to finish the year with the most tour-level victories, ahead of both Djokovic and Federer.

Roger Federer bounced back from the disappointment of losing to Kei Nishikori for just the third time in his career with two solid wins against Dominic Thiem and Kevin Anderson to comfortably top Group Lleyton Hewitt, and secure his place in the semis of the ATP Finals for the record 15th time. His performance against Anderson was outstanding and he later explained after the match he always delivers during clutch moments.
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Prediction: I think from seeing Federer and Djokovic in opposite sides of the group, it felt inevitable they would meet again in the finals. But let’s not count the chickens just yet. I remember last year Federer was odds-on favorite to win the tournament and ended up losing to David Goffin out of the blue in the semis. Zverev has the game to beat Federer. He already has two wins against the Maestro and knows what it takes to beat Federer. Incidentally, their last meeting was at last year’s Nitto ATP Finals at the round robin stage, when Federer won in three sets. Federer is vulnerable and there were many 30-30 games on Federer’s serve when he played Anderson, which Zverev can do better than the South African. I am going for the upset here which will deny us the “dream” final.

Pick: Zverev in 3

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