The Tokyo 1970 group is back in action on Day 4 of the Nitto ATP Finals. World No. 1 Novak Djokovic and Paris Masters champion Daniil Medvedev will attempt to back up their opening victories, whereas 2018 titlist Alexander Zverev and debutant Diego Schwartzman will try to avoid a rapid elimination. Can these matchups replicate the excitement produced by the London 2020 group on Tuesday?
ATP Finals Day Four Predictions
Alexander Zverev vs Diego Schwartzman
Head to head: Zverev 2-2 Schwartzman
This rivalry has two clearly differentiated sides. Schwartzman has emerged victorious from both encounters played outdoors, while Zverev thoroughly dominated a pair of indoor meetings, including the Cologne 2 final last month. The German owns a lopsided 24-9 margin in games won under a roof against the Argentinian.
Despite being one of the best returners in the world, the Schwartzman struggles to compete against fellow top players on fast indoor courts, mainly because he cannot conceal his below-average serve. On Monday, Djokovic feasted on his second serve, winning 65% of such points. While Zverev is more inconsistent, he’s nearly unplayable when his game clicks in these conditions. Back in their Cologne duel, he won an astounding 77% of second serve return points. In addition, he’ll also get a lot of free points off his mighty serve. Barring a subpar day at the office from Zverev, I don’t see a feasible pathway to victory for Schwartzman.
Prediction: Zverev in 2
Novak Djokovic vs Daniil Medvedev
Head to head: Djokovic 4-2 Medvedev
Make no mistake, Djokovic’s is completing a phenomenal 2020 campaign. Yet, it’s apparent he is no longer the ruthless force he used to be at the peak of his powers. He seldom sustains his A-level throughout a full match anymore. For example, in his ATP Cup semifinal battle versus Medvedev, the Serbian played a gem of a first set, but as the Russian elevated his game, Djokovic’s focus waned for a bit, resulting in a close three-set victory. He still comes out on top of most tightly-contested matches, but the vulnerability is real.
Medvedev, like Roberto Bautista or Pablo Carreño, fits the mold of a player who annoys Djokovic because he induces the World No. 1 to be more proactive than usual. In four matches on hard, Medvedev has always managed to win at least one set. Last season, the Russian arrived to London devoid of gas. This time around, though, he has somehow summoned his best tennis this past fortnight after looking miserable since Roland Garros. Ultimately, I’m expecting Djokovic to eke out a narrow win and Medvedev to attempt at least one underarm serve.
Prediction: Djokovic in 3