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Nitto ATP Finals 2021: Preview and Draw Analysis

Novak Djokovic Daniil Medvedev US Open

The 52nd staging of the ATP Finals has a different feel this year. For the first time in 12 years, London passed the baton to Turin to host the season-ending championships. There are four former champions and two debutants in the singles field. Who will be crowned the 2021 Nitto ATP Finals champion? Let us take a closer look at the two groups.

Green Group: Top seed Novak Djokovic seeks a record-equaling sixth title

Having secured the year-end No. 1 ranking for a record-breaking seventh time, world No. 1 Novak Djokovic will have another record in his mind. He will attempt to end his five-year drought at the season-ending finale and tie Roger Federer’s haul of six titles.

Djokovic will be in fine spirits on arrival to Turin. He collected his 37th Masters 1000 title at the recently-concluded Paris Masters (also a record), avenging his US Open loss to Daniil Medvedev in the final.

Djokovic’s campaign starts in earnest against Norwegian debutant Casper Ruud. It is a baptism by fire sort of introduction to the ATP Finals stage for Ruud. However, he has chiseled his game to greater heights on hard courts in recent months and could give the Serbian some thinking to do. While Ruud would probably budget for a loss in his first match, he should be the favorite to outperform Andrey Rublev (despite the lopsided head-to-head record) and Stefanos Tsitsipas.

Tsitsipas comes into the tournament with a cloud of uncertainty surrounding his fitness. The 2019 champion retired from the Paris Masters last week due to a shoulder injury. If the Greek is not operating at 100%, he is unlikely to cause any serious damage.

That could open up an opportunity for Andrey Rublev who plays the Greek in his first match on Monday. The pair contested a thrilling three-setter in last year-s edition, with Tsitsipas edging out the Russian. Neither of them, however, made it out of the group. Rublev arrives in Turin with a dreadful run of results. He has two wins from his past seven matches.

If it comes down to a straight shootout between the Russian and Ruud, the man from Oslo should not be underestimated.
Semifinal prediction: Novak Djokovic and Casper Ruud to qualify

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Red Group: Daniil Medvedev leads the ‘Group of Death’

Defending champion Daniil Medvedev is stacked in a slightly competitive group by the looks of things. But if he plays his cards right – as he has done for pretty much the whole of 2021 – he could be tough to beat this week.

Medvedev will start his title defense against Hubert Hurkacz in the ATP Finals curtain-raiser on Sunday. Hurkacz was the last man to join the eight-man party after his commendable run to the semifinals of the Paris Masters.

The other two members in the group–Alexander Zverev and Matteo Berrettini–will lock horns in the second group match on day one. Zverev and Berrettini met at this year’s Madrid Open final, with the German digging deep to upstage the Italian in three sets.

However, Berrettini could narrow the gap in their rivalry (3-1 to Zverev). His solitary win over Zverev came on home soil –  at the Rome Masters a couple of years ago. And he will certainly have the crowd on his side. Zverev is known to crack under the tiniest of pressure. Under the roof and in front of an exuberant Italian crowd, Berrettini will be mindful of his task and could surprise the 2018 champion.
Semifinal prediction: Daniil Medvedev and Matteo Berrettini to qualify

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Main Photo from Getty.


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