10sBalls.com • TennisBalls.com

Ricky’s Preview and Picks for Day 4 of the ATP Tennis Finals: Djokovic vs. Medvedev and Zverev vs. Schwartzman

Novak Djokovic is chasing a record-trying sixth ATP Finals championship in London.

By Ricky Dimon

Novak Djokovic will headline Wednesday’s order of play at the Nitto ATP Finals. He could have a tough one on his hands against familiar foe Daniil Medvedev. Meanwhile, both Alexander Zverev and Diego Schwartzman will be desperate for a win.

Ricky previews the action and makes his predictions.

(1) Novak Djokovic vs. (4) Daniil Medvedev

Djokovic and Medvedev will be squaring off for the seventh time in their careers on Wednesday night. The world No. 1 is leading an entertaining head-to-head series by a 4-2 margin. Only one of their six previous encounters has ended in straight sets and the last three have all required final sets. They have faced each other once this season, when Djokovic prevailed 6-1, 5-7, 6-4 at the ATP Cup to halt a two-match losing streak against Medvedev.

This marks their first-ever London matchup in Medvedev’s second appearance at the event. The fourth-ranked Russian went 0-3 in 2019, but he is far more rested for the 2020 year-end championship. That is the one benefit of not playing–and also not winning–as many matches as he did last season. However, Medvedev is starting to win plenty now. The 23-year-old is coming off a title at the Paris Masters and he began this week with a 6-3, 6-4 victory over Alexander Zverev.

Djokovic eased past London debutant Diego Schwartzman 6-3, 6-2 on Monday. It was a much needed positive start for the Serb, who got crushed by Rafael Nadal in the French Open and even by Lorenzo Sonego in the Vienna quarters.

Although Djokovic is clearly back in good form, he will have to do a lot more than beat Schwartzman in order to prove he is motivated for a fifth London title despite having already wrapped up the year-end No. 1 ranking. This should be one of the best matches of the week with a ton of wild rallies, and an upset by a rejuvenated Medvedev is certainly well within reason.

Pick: Medvedev in 3

Alexander Zverev, the 2018 ATP Finals champion, faces Diego Schwartzman in a must-win match for both men.

(6) Alexander Zverev vs. (8) Diego Schwartzman

It will be a must-win situation for either Zverev and Schwartzman–and virtually a must-win situation for both. Each man lost opening round-robin matches in Group B, with Zverev going down to Medvedev and getting erased by Djokovic. If Djokovic beats Medvedev on Wednesday afternoon, this will be a must-win for Zverev; if Medvedev beats Djokovic, this will be a must-win for Schwartzman. Either way, both players who are 0-1 almost certainly have to win since they lost their openers in straight sets.

Zverev knows a thing or two about recovering from round-robin losses. The seventh-ranked German dropped his second match in 2018 and went on to win the entire tournament; he also lost his second match last year and recovered to reach the semifinals. And despite Monday’s setback against Medvedev, Zverev should remain confident. He recently captured back-to-back titles in Cologne and also finished runner-up–to Medvedev–at the Paris Masters.

Schwartzman made his push for a first-ever London spot by reaching the Rome Masters final and the French Open semis. The ninth-ranked Argentine also advanced to the Paris quarters, a result that was preceded by a runner-up showing in Cologne.

In that Cologne final, though, Schwartzman went down in flames to Zverev via a 6-2, 6-1 decision. This should be more competitive and the underdog will likely raise his level from Monday with a match inside the O2 Arena under his belt, but Zverev is an obvious favorite.

Pick: Zverev in 3

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