10sBalls.com • TennisBalls.com

Ricky’s picks for the Nitto ATP Finals semis: Djokovic vs. Alcaraz and Medvedev vs. Sinner

It’s a dream semifinal lineup at the Nitto ATP Finals, featuring the top four players in the world: Novak Djokovic, Carlos Alcaraz, Daniil Medvedev, and Jannik Sinner. It’s fitting, too. Those four have clearly been the best players on the ATP Tour from start to finish this season.

Here are my picks for the two showdowns.

(1) Novak Djokovic vs. (2) Carlos Alcaraz

Djokovic and Alcaraz will be going head-to-head for the fifth time in their careers on Saturday night in Turin, Italy. Three of their four encounters have come this season, with Djokovic taking two of the three to tie up the overall series at 2-2. They split a pair of instant classics in finals at Wimbledon and the Cincinnati.

Another fun one should be in the cards. Djokovic has the experience (six year-end championship titles) and the edge in form (only one loss since Wimbledon), but Alcaraz has suddenly raised his level this week following a recent slump. The 20-year-old Spaniard recovered from an opening loss to Alexander Zverev by beating both Andrey Rublev and Daniil Medvedev in straight sets. Alcaraz can definitely be competitive, but it’s tough to pick against Djokovic at this event. The 36-year-old Serb did lose to Sinner during round-robin action, but that wasn’t a must-win situation.

Pick: Djokovic in 3

(3) Daniil Medvedev vs. (4) Jannik Sinner

Medvedev vs. Sinner has also been one of the ATP Tour’s best rivalries this year. Medvedev was 6-0 in the overall H2H at one point following wins in Rotterdam and Miami, but Sinner has begun to turn things in his favor. The fourth-ranked Italian prevailed 7-6(2), 7-6(2) in Beijing and 7-6(7), 4-6, 6-3 in Vienna. All four of their 2023 meetings have come in finals.

Saturday’s first semifinal will probably feel like a final, because the atmosphere for Sinner at home in Italy this week has been nothing short of raucous. In turn, the 22-year-old has treated them to a 3-0 record with defeats of Djokovic, Stefanos Tsitsipas, and Holger Rune. Medvedev went 2-1 in the Red Group, getting the best of Rublev and Zverev prior to his setback against Alcaraz. This should also be a wildly entertaining affair, but Sinner has been the best player all week long and should pick up yet another win in front of his fans.

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.