Day 3 at the Nitto ATP Finals promises to provide two impactful Round Robin matches. Six-time champion Roger Federer faces an uphill task to qualify for the semifinals. He cannot afford another defeat, when plays Matteo Berrettini on Tuesday.
World No.2 Novak Djokovic is still in pursuit of the year-end No.1 ranking and he needs to win again to keep his chances alive.
Nitto ATP Finals Day 3 Predictions
Novak Djokovic vs Dominic Thiem
Head-to-head: Djokovic 6-3 Thiem
Novak Djokovic and Dominic Thiem will meet for the first time since the semifinal of the French Open, where the Austrian came out victorious in maddening weather in a match that extended over two days due to rain.
Thiem has often arrived at the ATP Finals fatigued and out of energy, but he incorporated extended breaks in between tournaments in 2019 and is reaping huge dividends. Group Bjorn Borg was expected to be a straight shoot-out between Djokovic and Federer, but the Austrian played with purpose to beat the six-time champion on Sunday evening to put a dent on that narrative.
Thiem will now need to turn his attention to Djokovic. But following the Serbian superstar’s 64-minute demonstration of controlled genius with a racket, just how do you stop him? There is no doubt that the Austrian is a sturdy campaigner and will likely trade his venomous groundstrokes to overpower Djokovic from the back of the court. However, the World No.2 plays a brand of tennis tailor-made for the indoor conditions at the O2. Also, there is no one more adept at absorbing an opponent’s best shot than Djokovic. This should be another comfortable evening for the five-time champion.
Prediction: Djokovic in 2
Roger Federer vs Matteo Berrettini
Head-to-head: Federer 1-0 Berrettini
Roger Federer labelled his surprise defeat to Dominic Thiem “a first-round hiccup” and vowed to regroup on his next assignment against the power-hitting Italian Matteo Berrettini. The Swiss will likely need to win his next two matches in order to advance out of the Group Bjorn Borg and into the semifinals, and he is treating the remainder of the week as a knock-out tournament. In his previous 16 visits at the season finale, Federer has made the semifinals on 15 occasions. Should he fall to Berrettini’s brute firepower, he will suffer his earliest exit at the ATP Finals since 2008.
Berrettini did not have the best of days in his debut appearance and failed to produce his best tennis in the white heat of the moment as he was swatted aside by a clinical Djokovic 6-2 6-1. The US Open semifinalist could be forgiven for entertaining the idea of repeating Alexander Zverev’s heroics from last year and have his very own Cinderella story this week. He will now head into a must-win clash against Federer more in hope than expectation.
Federer and Berrettini faced each other at Wimbledon this year, and the legendary Swiss strolled past the Italian without breaking a sweat. The stakes could not be higher in this match and particularly for Federer who cannot afford the luxury of another subpar performance. I expect the six-time champion to bounce back, just like he did last year.
Prediction: Federer in 2
Main Photo from Getty.