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Ricky’s preview and pick for Friday at the Nitto ATP Finals: Tsitsipas vs. Rublev

Stefanos Tsitsipas and Andrey Rublev will be squaring off for the 11th time in their careers, for the third time this season, and for the third time at the Nitto ATP Finals when they meet again in what amounts to a quarterfinal contest on Friday night.

Tsitsipas leads the head-to-head series 6-4, including 2-0 in 2022. He has won each of their two encounters this year in straight sets; 6-3, 2-6, 6-4 in the Madrid quarterfinals and 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 on the indoor hard courts of Astana. They have split their two previous Nitto ATP Finals clashes; Tsitsipas survived a 6-1, 4-6, 7-6(6) thriller two years ago in London before Rublev rolled 6-4, 6-4 last fall in Turin.

That 2021 opening match at the year-end championship can be thrown out the window, as Tsitsipas was dealing with an elbow injury and withdrew from the tournament immediately thereafter. The third-ranked Greek is in much different form this time around. His fall swing includes runner-up performances in Astana and Stockholm plus a semifinal showing in Paris (lost to Novak Djokovic in a third-set tiebreaker). Tsitsipas fell to Djokovic 6-4, 7-6(4) to begin his week in Turin but bounced back to beat Daniil Medvedev 6-3, 6-7(11), 7-6(1).

Rublev’s week has been almost the same, outlasting Medvedev in a third-set tiebreaker and losing to Djokovic in straight sets. Unsurprisingly, however, the world No. 7’s level has been much less impressive than that of Tsitsipas.

The only concern for Tsitsipas is his tough battle against Medvedev on Wednesday, but at the same time it gives him a ton of momentum and a day off in between matches should have him completely recovered.

Pick: Tsitsipas in 2

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