The night session on Day 2 of the Nitto ATP Finals features a repeat of this year’s Monte Carlo final between Andrey Rublev and Stefanos Tsitsipas. Both players have had a dip in form of late, so it will be interesting to see who can elevate their level and come out on top in this opening group match. The Greek knows what it takes to win this event, as he was the champion in 2019. This is Andrey Rublev’s second appearance at the season ending finale, so it will be interesting to see how he performs in Turin.
Nitto ATP Finals Day 2 Prediction
Andrey Rublev vs Stefanos Tsitsipas
Head to Head: 4-3 Tsitsipas
As well as being a rematch of this year’s Monte Carlo final, the last hard court meeting between the pair came in the round robin stages of last year’s Nitto ATP Finals, where the Greek prevailed in a deciding set tiebreak.
Andrey Rublev recorded one of the best wins of his career this season in Monte Carlo, where he defeated Rafael Nadal in the quarterfinals. Although he made his first two Masters 1000 finals in Monte Carlo and Cincinnati this year, it would be fair to say that the Russian has still not produced his best tennis at the Grand Slams. Rublev is one of the best pure ball strikers on tour. At his best, the potent power of his serve and ground strokes can prove to be overwhelming for any opponents. However, his greatest asset can also prove to be his worst enemy at times. When Rublev’s ball striking is erratic or when he has an off day, the Russian has struggled to find a plan B or add more variety within his tactical game-plan. This at times can lead to him being somewhat predictable or one dimensional. I do believe that the Russian will enjoy these faster conditions this week, as it will enable him to be able to hit more winners and gain more of a rhythm from the back of the court.
Stefanos Tsitsipas has enjoyed a fantastic 2021 season. The Greek won his first Masters 1000 title in Monte Carlo and reached his first Grand Slam final at Roland Garros, a match where he had a two sets to love lead before he lost in five sets to Novak Djokovic. However, post Roland Garros and indeed outside of clay courts in general, the Greek has not been able replicate his clay court form. I believe that one of the main reasons for this is his struggles on the backhand return. When the Greek has more time on this shot, and can run around his backhand to hit a forehand return on the slower clay court surface, he has yet to develop a solid and consistent backhand chip return for faster hard courts and at Wimbledon. This was particularly exposed by Daniil Medvedev in Australia, Frances Tiafoe at Wimbledon, and Reilly Opelka in Toronto. It is important to note that he has made improvements in this area this season. However, further improvement is needed, especially if he is to have success on grass courts. I think there is a risk this week that this area of his game is exposed due to the faster court conditions.
I think this will be a very close match. Both players have not been in the best of form recently and it will be interesting to see how Tsitsipas’s elbow holds up, considering his retirement from his opening match in Paris. Whilst Rublev has more firepower, Tsitsipas has more variety in his game, as well as arguably having the higher tennis IQ and match awareness of the pair. However, I think the Russian has the edge given the fast court conditions and given the uncertainty regarding Tsitsipas’s elbow, if this match goes long like I believe it will, then this could be a potential problem for the Greek. I think Rublev will get the win in three tight sets.
Prediction: Rublev in 3
Main Photo from Getty.