What is surely the strangest season in living memory comes to an end this week at the ATP Finals, which will be held for the last time in London before moving to Turin. There should be plenty of entertaining action this week with the world’s eight best players set to be in action. But who will secure a valuable win on day one?
ATP Finals Day One Predictions
Dominic Thiem vs Stefanos Tsitsipas
Head-to-head: Thiem 4-3 Tsitsipas
Dominic Thiem and Stefanos Tsitsipas most recent meeting came last season in the final at this very event and it was a thriller. The Greek eventually came out on top, edging out Thiem in a final-set tiebreak to win the biggest title of his career. But Tsitsipas has struggled to kick on since and this season must be viewed as something of a disappointment for the world #6, who has won just one title and failed to make an impact at the Majors, bar an impressive run to the French Open semifinals.
Thiem, in contrast, finally ended the long wait for a new Grand Slam champion, taking advantage of Novak Djokovic’s disqualification to win the title at the US Open. He has played only sparingly since, losing in back-to-back quarterfinals at Roland Garros and the Vienna Open. But that should ensure that he is fresh for one last push and, whilst the Greek may ultimately have the higher ceiling, currently it is Thiem who is the better player of the two. If he is at his best, expect him to score a narrow win.
Prediction: Thiem in 3
Embed from Getty Images
Rafael Nadal vs Andrey Rublev
Head-to-head: Nadal 1-0 Rublev
This week should present an interesting test of just how good Andrey Rublev is. The Russian arrives in London in fine form, having won five titles and 40 matches this season, including back-to-back indoor titles in St Petersburg and Vienna, but he still feels relatively untried against the very best in the world. Rafael Nadal, meanwhile, will be looking to end his long drought at the ATP Finals, which remains the biggest title to continue to elude his grasp.
But although he thrashed Rublev in their last meeting, winning 6-1 6-2 6-2 in the quarterfinals at the US Open in 2017, this looks likely to be a stern test for the great Spaniard. Rublev remains slightly one dimensional, but his excellent movement and ability to inject power into the ball make him a dangerous foe, particularly on an indoor hard court. Nadal, in contrast, has a game that has always been ill-suited to the conditions in London. Expect another close contest, but for Rublev to edge it.
Prediction: Rublev in 3
Embed from Getty Images