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

Get your popcorn ready for Day 3 of the Nitto ATP Finals.

The festivities will be headlined by a primetime showdown between world No. 1 Novak Djokovic and home hope Jannik Sinner. For now it’s a round-robin matchup in the Green Group, but nobody will be surprised if this also turns out to be the championship match.

Tuesday night marks the fourth meeting between the two competitors. Djokovic has won all three of their previous encounters; 6-4, 6-2 at the 2021 Monte-Carlo Masters, from two sets down at Wimbledon in 2022, and 6-3, 6-4, 7-6(4) in the 2023 Wimbledon semifinals.

This one promises to be their most competitive one after all. That’s because Sinner is without question playing the best tennis of his life. The 22-year-old Italian is now 14-1 since the U.S. Open following his 6-4, 6-4 victory over Stefanos Tsitsipas on Sunday.

These are far and away the two most in-form players on the ATP Tour. In addition Sinner losing just one match since the U.S. Open, Djokovic has not lost a single time since Wimbledon. During this stretch the 36-year-old Serb has secured titles in Cincinnati, New York, and Paris. Djokovic’s winning streak continued on Sunday, but he needed three hours and four minutes to outlast Holger Rune 7-6(4), 6-7(1), 6-3.

This is a great opportunity for Sinner. Not only is Djokovic coming off an absolute battle in his opening contest, but the top seed is also just 8-7 lifetime in his second round-robin matches at the year-end championship (compared to 15-1 in his opening matches).

Sound the upset alert!

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.