RICKY’S PREVIEW AND PREDICTIONS FOR THE 2018 ATP TENNIS FINALS IN LONDON 02 ARENA • BUY TICKETS

Written by: on 6th November 2018
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RICKY'S PREVIEW AND PREDICTIONS FOR THE 2018 ATP TENNIS FINALS IN LONDON 02 ARENA • BUY TICKETS

epa07141077 Novak Djokovic of Serbia returns the ball to Karen Khachanov of Russia during their final match at the Rolex Paris Masters tennis tournament in Paris, France, 04 November 2018. EPA-EFE/Ian Langsdon  |
By Ricky Dimon

The 2018 Nitto ATP Finals marks the third consecutive year-end championship in which two of the “Big 4” are participating. In 2016 it was Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray battling it out for the year-end No. 1 ranking. The 2017 installment saw Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal take the court inside the O2 Arena (although Nadal did not last long, withdrawing after one match). This time around, Djokovic and Federer are the first and second seeds, respectively.

With Nadal having pulled out due to knee and abdominal issues, Djokovic has clinched the year-end No. 1 ranking. Still, there will be plenty of intrigue at the O2 Arena. Federer has not won this event since 2011, but recent developments in Paris suggest the 20-time Grand Slam champion can be a real threat to Djokovic. He pushed the Serb to a third-set tiebreaker in the semis before Djokovic got upset by Karen Khachanov (the first alternate in London) in the final. Although the reigning Wimbledon and U.S. Open champion remains an obvious favorite at the YEC, he suddenly no longer looks quite as invincible as he did while compiling a 31-1 record in the span of 32 matches—a dominant stretch that included a streak of 21 straight wins.
Additionally, London debutants and Wimbledon semifinalists Kevin Anderson and John Isner could breathe some new life into the O2 Arena. While the two big servers may not be the most exciting players on tour, they at least have a propensity for playing competitive matches (see their marathon and rules-changing Wimbledon semi, for example). That is something this tournament has lacked in the past four years.
Alexander Zverev, Marin Cilic, Dominic Thiem, and Kei Nishikori round out the 2018 field. Nishikori got a spot when Juan Martin Del Potro withdrew, which preceded Isner’s replacement of Nadal. The Japanese veteran is an outstanding 19-6 dating back to the start of the season, so his chances cannot be discounted even though he has rarely excelled in London. Zverev, Cilic, and Thiem are a combined 0-for-5 in their bids to emerge from round-robin play and reach the semis of this event.
Djokovic and Federer are the obvious favorites based on current form and experience, but also watch out for Anderson and Isner in what seem like two relatively balanced RR groups.

Group Guga Kuerten
Novak Djokovic
Alexander Zverev
Marin Cilic
John Isner

Group Lleyton Hewitt
Roger Federer
Kevin Anderson
Dominic Thiem
Kei Nishikori

Round-robin predictions:

Group Guga Kuerten
Djokovic over Isner in 2
Zverev over Cilic in 3
Djokovic over Zverev in 2
Isner over Cilic in 3
Djokovic over Cilic in 3
Isner over Zverev in 3

Group Lleyton Hewitt
Federer over Nishikori in 2
Anderson over Thiem in 3
Anderson over Federer in 3
Thiem over Nishikori in 3
Federer over Thiem in 2
Nishikori over Anderson in 2

Semifinal picks: Djokovic over Federer in 2, Anderson over Isner in 3

Final: Djokovic over Anderson in 2

Ricky contributes to 10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on twitter at @TennGrand.

 

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