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Ricky’s pick for the Nitto ATP Finals round robin: Sinner vs. Tsitsipas

The schedule-makers know how to make the home crowd happy: give Jannik Sinner the first match at the 2023 Nitto ATP Finals.

That will be the case when Sinner takes the court on Sunday afternoon in Turin, Italy to kick off the year-end championship. It begins with a Green Group round-robin showdown against Stefanos Tsitsipas.

The Greek leads the head-to-head series 5-2, but much of that success came when he was already in his prime and Sinner was not. Things have begun to turn around in 2023, as Tsitsipas needed five sets to get the job done at the Australian Open and then Sinner cruised 6-4, 6-3 in their most recent meeting on the indoor hard courts of Rotterdam.

Sinner should once again have the edge on Sunday. He is coming down the stretch of an amazing 2023 campaign that has him up to fourth in the rankings. The 22-year-old’s highlights include his first Masters 1000 title in Toronto plus three other winner’s trophies in Montpellier, Beijing, and Vienna. His season record is 57-14, including 13-1 since the end of the U.S. Open.

It has been more of a roller-coaster ride for Tsitsipas in 2023. The 25-year-old started hot with a final appearance at the Australian Open but the second half was a struggle after the conclusion of clay. Tsitsipas has finally turned things back around with semifinal showings in his last three tournaments, but losses to Arthur Fils (Antwerp), Daniil Medvedev (Vienna), and Grigor Dimitrov (Paris) were rather disappointing.

Based on current form and home-court advantage, Sinner will likely have the edge in this one.

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.