The Nitto ATP Finals has never been short of star power, and the new World No.1 Rafael Nadal will put his injury troubles to one side as he attempts to lock in the year-end No.1 ranking when he opens up against Alexander Zverev.
In-form Russian Daniil Medvedev will begin proceedings on Day 2 as he looks to maintain his winning record against sixth-seeded Stefanos Tsitsipas.
Nitto ATP Finals Day 2 Predictions
Daniil Medvedev vs Stefanos Tsitsipas
Head-to-head: Medvedev 5-0 Tsitsipas
Russia’s Daniil Medvedev has compiled a 59-18 career-best season which has seen him reach six finals out of the last seven tournaments he has played in since the beginning of the North American hard-court swing. In the midst of that run, he captured two Masters 1000 Series titles in Cincinnati and Shanghai, and the 250-level tournament in St. Petersburg.
Medvedev suffered a shock first round defeat at the Paris Masters to France’s Jeremy Chardy – a result that ended his bid for a seventh straight final and his winning streak of 19 consecutive sets. However, the World No.4 will be expectant to get back to winning ways on his debut appearance at the ATP Finals when he faces Stefanos Tsitsipas–a player he has not lost to in five meetings.
Tsitsipas, like Medvedev, has put together a breakthrough season on the mainstream with two more ATP tour titles to his resume, a first-time Grand Slam semifinal appearance at the Australian Open, and a place at the season-ending championships among other incredible achievements. But despite all those significant landmarks in his burgeoning career, Tsitsipas has not looked remotely close to solving the Medvedev riddle. The two players were involved in an infamous spat at the Miami Masters in 2018, but they would later confess to feeling no animosity towards each other.
This is very much an open group especially when you consider Nadal’s injury concerns. Medvedev will fancy his chances of doing most of the damage and progress to the semifinals. The Russian’s defeat to Chardy is certainly a one-off as I expect him to bounce back in style on Monday.
Prediction: Medvedev in 2
Rafael Nadal vs Alexander Zverev
Head-to-head: Nadal 5-0 Zverev
We will live by Rafael Nadal’s word this week that he is fit and raring to go at Nitto ATP Finals where the year-end No.1 ranking is very much on the line. The Spaniard pulled out of his scheduled semifinal against Shapovalov at the Paris Masters due to an abdominal injury he sustained during the warm-up. Nadal admitted he only started serving on Thursday, but he isn’t worried about his form heading to London where he will face the defending champion Alexander Zverev in his opening Round Robin match.
At 33, Nadal is the old guard in Group Andre Agassi, but in his eight previous visits at the season finale he has failed to win the one big title missing in his illustrious career. Zverev might look at this match-up as an opportunity to finally break his duck against the 19-time Major Champion. Winning the title at this tournament can have dramatic ramifications, something that Zverev hasn’t quite recovered from 12 months on. The 22-year-old German won just one title in 2019 (Geneva). After a season of inertia and under-performance, this could be the scene for his reincarnation.
It will be intriguing to see how just how the abdominal distention affects Nadal’s tennis, particularly his serve. Historically, Nadal has struggled to play his best tennis in the final week of the season, and given the state of his body right now, it would be foolish to write off Zverev’s chances of registering an upset win.
Prediction: Zverev in 2
Main Photo from Getty.