On Wednesday at the ATP Tour Finals Dan Weston previews a must-win match for Alexander Zverev and tournament favourite Novak Djokovic v Daniil Medvedev...
"Djokovic has a solid edge on return data which makes him a justifiably solid favourite here..."
Nadal and Rublev defeats could have gone either way
There was plenty of drama on day three with last year's two finalists, Dominic Thiem and Stefanos Tsitsipas, getting victories over Rafa Nadal and Andrey Rublev. This doesn't remotely begin tell the story of these matches though, with Nadal losing both sets via tiebreaks including the opening set tiebreak from **5-2 up. He failed to convert two set points while failing to see out a break lead during set two as well. This puts the Spaniard at 1-1 for the tournament, with Thiem now having won two from two.
The second group match last night went to a final set tie-break, with our pick, Andrey Rublev, failing to convert a match point at *6-5 in the tiebreak en route to his 8-6 final set tiebreak loss to Tsitsipas. Given that Nadal and Tsitsipas, who are both 1-1, need to play each other in the final match of the group, Rublev cannot overtake both to qualify, so it will be one of Nadal and Tsitsipas to join Thiem in the semi-finals.
Zverev favourite for must-win clash
Both Alexander Zverev and Diego Schwartzman lost in straight sets in their opening match in Group Tokyo 1970, so their meeting in the opening match today - scheduled not before 14:00 UK time - is something of a must-win clash.
Zverev is the solid market favourite, priced at a current 1.331/3 on the Exchange, and my model largely agreed, pricing the German at 1.402/5 to get his first win of the tournament - largely due to Zverev's much better serve data indoors, with Schwartzman's edge on return not nearly as big.
I'm anticipating the match to be pretty return-orientated, with Schwartzman in particular likely to struggle on serve (my model anticipates him to hold 65% of the time) and Zverev eased to a 6-2 6-1 win over the Argentine in the Cologne Final around a month ago. The venue in Cologne offered pretty slow conditions, though, which should have favoured Schwartzman more than today, so Schwartzman has to improve on that display.
Djokovic with edge over Medvedev
The market is broadly in agreement with my model for the second match in the group tonight, scheduled to start not before 20:00 UK time. World number one Novak Djokovic is priced at 1.4640/85 to get the better of Paris Masters winner, Daniil Medvedev, and both players achieved straight set victories in their opening matches.
Djokovic has a solid edge on return data which makes him a justifiably solid favourite here - plus plenty of big stage experience against high quality opposition - although Medvedev has won their last two main tour matches in Cincinnati and Monte Carlo, in rather different conditions. But the price on Djokovic is bigger than those two matches which was around the 1.251/4 to 1.351/3 mark. I think that the tournament favourite is accurately priced for tonight's match.
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