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ATP Finals Semifinal Predictions – Roger Federer vs Stefanos Tsitsipas and Dominic Thiem vs Alexander Zverev

Dominic Thiem ATP Finals London

After what has been a thrilling week of tennis so far at the ATP Finals in the British capital, just four men remain in contention for the title. Not amongst them are world #1 Rafael Nadal and world #2 Novak Djokovic, both of whom saw their round-robin campaigns end in disappointment, whilst debutants Matteo Berrettini and Daniil Medvedev also failed to advance. But who will book their place in Sunday’s showpiece final at the O2 Arena in London?

ATP Finals Semifinal Predictions

Roger Federer vs Stefanos Tsitsipas

Head-to-head: Federer 2-1 Tsitsipas

It has been a somewhat disappointing season for Roger Federer. The Swiss did win a Masters 1000 title at the Miami Open, but he failed to add to his Major tally, despite holding two championship points against Djokovic in the Wimbledon final. However, if he can end his season with a seventh triumph at the ATP Finals, that would surely go some way to alleviating that frustration. His form during the round robin suggested he might be able to do just that.

The Swiss did open his campaign with a 5-7 5-7 defeat at the hands of Dominic Thiem, but such has been the Austrian’s form in London that there can be no shame in that loss. He rebounded impressively in his second match, beating first-time qualifier Berrettini in straight-sets to end the Italian’s chances of reaching the last four. Then, in unquestionably his best performance of the week, he dismantled an out of sorts Djokovic to eliminate the Serb and secure Nadal’s hold on the year-end #1 ranking.

Tsitsipas, meanwhile, has enjoyed a fine debut at the ATP Finals. The Greek, who has established himself as a star of both today and the future, booked his passage into the semifinals in London with convincing victories over Medvedev and Zverev in his opening two matches. He did, however, prove unable to earn the distinction of going undefeated in the round robin, as Nadal rallied from a set down to inflict his first defeat of the week.

This will be the pair’s fourth meeting, with all three previous matches having come in 2019. Tsitsipas won the first in superb fashion, announcing his arrival as a force to be reckoned with in the men’s game by beating Federer 6-7 7-6 7-5 7-6 in the fourth round at Melbourne Park. However, the world #3 has since avenged that defeat with comprehensive wins in Dubai and Basel, with Federer winning in straight-sets on both occasions

Against Djokovic, Federer delivered a serving masterclass and was regularly able to take the ball early and so take control of the rallies. It was a performance that has surely given Federer real confidence about his chances to win the title this week. Tsitsipas’ all-court game should provide Federer with a different challenge and it should be noted that Djokovic was far from his best. But if Federer can recapture that level, it is hard to see Tsitsipas withstanding him.

Prediction: Federer in 3
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Dominic Thiem vs Alexander Zverev

Head-to-head: Thiem 5-2 Zverev

Thiem’s considerable successes on hard courts have perhaps been slightly overlooked this season. The Austrian is rarely talked about as a contender on the surface, but he has won three hard-court titles in 2019, including on the quick courts at the China Open. And he went someway to ensuring his qualities won’t be overlooked in the future by bludgeoning his way past Federer and Djokovic to finish top of group Bjorn Borg, although his level did drop precipitously in a defeat to Berrettini in his final match.

That may have checked his momentum heading into his semifinal clash with defending champion Zverev, who had a mixed round-robin campaign. The German started superbly, brushing aside the challenge of Nadal in a 6-2 6-4 win. But he followed that up with an indifferent performance in a 3-6 2-6 loss to Tsitsipas, only to rebound by beating Medvedev 6-4 7-6 to eliminate Nadal and secure his place in the semifinals.

Zverev has enjoyed little success thus far in his career against Thiem, winning just two of their seven matches, although one of his victories did come in the Madrid Open final. It is rare for the German to come up against an opponent who can consistently overpower him, but Thiem can do just that. The Austrian can hit clean winners seemingly out of nothing from both sides and he landed some mighty blows in his first two matches, particularly against Djokovic.

What has been more impressive than his power, however, has been his mental application. More than once against Djokovic, unquestionably the greatest returner the game has ever seen, Thiem serve-and-volleyed, which succeeded in throwing off the Serb’s rhythm. That tactical versatility and mental resilience is something that has been missing from Zverev’s game in 2019 and seems destined to prove the difference between the two at the ATP Finals.

Prediction: Thiem in 3

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