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Ricky’s Tennis Preview And Picks For Nitto ATP Finals Day 4: Nadal vs. Medvedev, Tsitsipas vs. Zverev

By Ricky Dimon

Rafael Nadal and Daniil Medvedev were the two best players in the world this summer, but they face basically a must-win situation against each other when Group A play continues at the Nitto ATP Finals on Wednesday. Either Stefanos Tsitsipas or Alexander Zverev, on the other hand, will take control of the group by improving to 2-0.

Ricky previews the action and makes his picks.

(1) Rafael Nadal vs. (4) Daniil Medvedev

Both players will be trying to recapture their summer magic on Wednesday. Nadal won both of their previous meetings during the American hard-court swing; 6-3, 6-0 in the Montreal final and by a far more memorable 7-5, 6-3, 5-7, 4-6, 6-4 scoreline in the U.S. Open title match.

It is a small victory of sorts for the Spaniard that he is even taking the court on Wednesday. There was plenty of doubts about his status for this year-end championship following a Paris Masters withdrawal brought on by an abdominal issue. Questions only mounted when Nadal got trounced 6-2, 6-4 by Alexander Zverev in his London opener, but he put those concerns to rest during his press conference. Thus his bid for his first-ever title at this event goes on despite his first loss since the Wimbledon semifinals against Roger Federer.

Medvedev famously reached six consecutive finals (won three) from Washington, D.C. through Shanghai, but he skipped a 250-point event at home in Moscow and may have lost is mojo. The fourth-ranked Russian saw his finals streak come to an end with an immediate loss in Paris to Jeremy Chardy and his perfect 5-0 record vs. Stefanos Tsitsipas evaporated in the form of a 7-6(5), 6-4 setback in his London debut.

For Nadal, one match under his belt plus another day of rest and practice could be a big help. The world No. 1 is the more reliable of the two competitors to bounce back from a rough start inside the O2 Arena.

Prediction: Nadal in 3

(6) Stefanos Tsitsipas vs. (7) Alexander Zverev

There was no love lost in Tsitsipas’ opening match against Medvedev and the story will be the same when he runs into Zverev.

Tsitsipas may not like either opponent, but his on-court history with Medvedev and Zverev could not be more different. The Greek had been 0-5 against Medvedev before prevailing on Monday. On the other hand, he is 3-1 at Zverev’s expense and has won three in a row–including two this season. Tsitsipas won 7-5, 3-6, 6-2 on the red clay of Madrid and 7-6(6), 6-4 in the Beijing Semifinals.  

The Greek finished runner-up in Beijing, advanced to semis in Shanghai and Basel, and reached the quarterfinals of the Paris Masters. Not including a retirement in Zhuhai, Tsitsipas hasn’t lost to anyone outside the top 5 since round one of the U.S. Open (Andrey Rublev). With his London defeat of Medvedev, he now boasts a 14-5 record this fall.

Zverev has lifted a trophy on this court before–just last year, in fact. The defending champion struggled by his standards throughout the 2019 campaign but set himself up nicely for more success in London by making a run to the Beijing semifinals and the Shanghai final (lost to Medvedev). Zverev kicked off this week with his beatdown of Nadal.

With both players’ confidence restored in a big way following relative summer slumps, this should be a good one. A slight edge may go to Tsitsipas based on head-to-head history.

Prediction: Tsitsipas in 3

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

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