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Ricky’s preview and pick for the Rotterdam final: Medvedev vs. Sinner

Sunday’s final at the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament may not feature the top two seeds, but tennis fans could not have hoped for any better matchup when the week began.

Daniil Medvedev and Jannik Sinner are without question two of the best players in the world right now–regardless of what the rankings say–and they have been by far the best players throughout this event. They will now face each other for the fifth time in their careers, with Medvedev sweeping the head-to-head series 4-0 (all on indoor hard courts). Their most recent encounter came this past fall in Vienna, where the Russian cruised 6-4, 6-2 in the quarterfinals.

Sinner, though, is looking like a man on a mission this season. The 21-year-old is 12-2 with losses only to Sebastian Korda in Adelaide and Stefanos Tsitsipas in a five-setter at the Australian Open. Sinner’s current seven-match winning streak includes a title last week in Montpellier and Rotterdam victories over Benjamin Bonzi, Tsitsipas, Stan Wawrinka, and Tallon Griekspoor. The world No. 14 has reeled off seven sets in a row since dropping the middle frame to Bonzi in round one.

A recent funk has Medvedev ranked 11th, but he will be back in the top 10 on Monday even if he loses this match. The 27-year-old has won eight sets since a row in Rotterdam since losing his first one to Alejandro Davidovich Fokina, following up a 4-6, 6-2, 6-2 victory to kick off the week with straight-set demolitions of Botic van de Zandschulp, Felix Auger-Aliassime, and Grigor Dimitrov. Medvedev is 9-2 this season with losses only to Korda (Australian Open) and Novak Djokovic (Adelaide).

“It would be amazing [to win here],” Mevedev assured. “Every time I come here, and I think it is my fifth time here, everywhere there are photos of the winners and their names. I don’t remember who won it first time, but then Arthur Ashe won it [twice]. Then (John) McEnroe, (Bjorn) Borg, (Stefan) Edberg, and I’m like, ‘Well, that tournament has a history, for sure.’ To add my name there would be amazing, but for this I need to play well in the final.”

That’s an understatement, too, because Sinner is on fire. Sure the Italian is winless in this matchup, but keep in mind that he was 1-5 lifetime against Tsitsipas before hammering the Greek 6-4, 6-3 on Thursday. It should also be noted that Medvedev was 0-9 in his last nine matches against top-10 opponents before beating Auger-Aliassime in the quarterfinals.

Sinner may not be top 10 at the moment, but he’s playing like it–certainly to a greater extent than Auger-Aliassime. Don’t be surprised if a minor upset takes place and Sinner makes it two titles in two weeks.

Pick: Sinner in 3

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