It’s time to kick off the year-end championships as the best eight players of the season will battle each other for the ATP Finals title. We start from the Green group, which includes world #1 Novak Djokovic. Who will begin their campaign on a high note?
ATP Finals Day 1 Predictions
Stefanos Tsitsipas vs Jannik Sinner
Head-to-head: Tsitsipas 5-2 Sinner
Stefanos Tsitsipas used to enjoy this matchup a lot, but that was also due to their rivalry being quite clay-heavy in the past. This year they’re tied at 1-1 and does all of this still hold up with Jannik Sinner’s recent improvements? The Italian will be desperate to do well at home here and had plenty of rest after his Paris walkover.
Tsitsipas also had to stop his practice on Saturday due to an elbow issue. Sinner was going to be the favorite here in the first place and that certainly doesn’t help. Is Hubert Hurkacz going to have to step in as the alternate? Only time will tell, but the Greek certainly looks like a bit of an outsider in his group right now.
Prediction: Sinner in 3
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Novak Djokovic vs Holger Rune
Head-to-head: Djokovic 2-2 Rune
Holger Rune has been one of Novak Djokovic’s toughest matchups on tour, mostly due to how well-rounded his game is. He can switch from ramping up the pace to just tracking everything down and counter-punching with ease, usually making the Serbian work really hard for the points. He also found some form right before the ATP Finals reaching the final in Basel and the last eight in Paris (where he took Djokovic the distance).
But the problem might be the Turin conditions. Will Rune be able to push Djokovic on a court this fast? They haven’t met on any surfaces this quick so far in their rivalry. The world #1’s more aggressive post-prime version – if he even is past his prime -can actually be even more overwhelming on a surface like this, which he showcased last year. Turin courts might not allow Rune the wiggle room to turn defense into offense like he usually can against Djokovic.
Prediction: Djokovic in 2
Main photo credit: Danielle Parhizkaran-USA TODAY Sports