Action in the Red Group at the ATP Finals continues with world #2 Carlos Alcaraz still seeking his first win in the flagship ATP event whilst Daniil Medvedev and Alexander Zverev meet for an incredible 18th time, with the winner likely to securing a place in Saturday’s semifinals. As ever, we here at LWOT will be offering our predictions for both matches, but who will come out ont top?
ATP Tour Finals Day 4 Predictions
Carlos Alcaraz vs Andrey Rublev
Head-to-head: first meeting
Perhaps surprising given the success of both these men in recent years that this is the first encounter between the Russian and the Spaniard. Despite still holding onto the world number two ranking, Alcaraz has struggled since the US Open, highlighted by is three back-to-back losses. Rublev, in contrast, has arguably been in the form of his life the past few months almost winning a second Masters title in Shanghai and not being far off the one in Paris either where he lost narrowly to Novak Djokovic in the semifinals.
Despite the Russian’s form, with his backhand and serve looking the best they’ve ever been, there was little to smile about on Monday as he was dismissed by his compatriot Medvedev. The same can’t be said of Alcaraz where despite the loss in a tight three setter to Alexander Zverev, it was one of his best performance in months, something to build off for sure.
It’s hard to know what to expect here. If both men play well, the 20-year-old should come out on top given he does almost everything better, but given the court speed is faster than Alcaraz likes. If Rublev has a good serving day, this could be tighter than most people expect. Still,due to Alcaraz being capable of breaking down Rublev off the ground like Djokovic and Medvedev have done to him so often, the second seed has to be given the edge here – regardless of form.
Prediction: Alcaraz in 3
Daniil Medvedev vs Alexander Zverev
Head-to-head: Medvedev 10-7 Zverev
Given both men are under 28, it’s a surprise they’re both meeting for the 18th time (a record number without a single encounter occurring at a Grand Slam). This will also be their fifth meeting of the year with the Russian getting the better of the German in four of the five, the only Zverev win was a tough encounter 7-5 in the final set in Cincinnati earlier this year.
Saying all that, given Zverev was building his way back on tour this year after being sidelined for half of 2022, it’s would be a mistake to put too much stock into their matches earlier this year as it was quite clear he was far from his best, making it more impressive he managed to finish in the world’s top eight and make it to this event.
The 26-year old’s serve was immaculate against Alcaraz on Monday and if he’s going to have any chance to get tightening this head-to-head up, he needs the same sort of serving performance here. Medvedev looked sublime against Rublev the other night and in this matchup in the past, he’s often done the same thing to the 2018 and 2021 champion here.
This is really too tight to call, Medvedev no doubt is favourite on paper but given the faster courts and the way Zverev played earlier this week, there’s no reason he can’t take it to Medvedev, hit through him and serve him off the court. We’ve seen him do it before at the ATP Finals so why not again?
Prediction: Zverev in 3
Main photo credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports