Casper Ruud looks like a value bet in his winner-takes-all clash with Andrey Rublev at the ATP World Tour Finals, says Dan Weston in his look at today's action
"I think Ruud at the current underdog price represents some value and is today's pick to cause a little surprise."
Zverev joins Medvedev in qualifying
Victory for Alexander Zverev against Hubert Hurkacz yesterday ensured that the German qualified for Saturday's semi-finals, and now faces Novak Djokovic in what will certainly be considered the tougher route to the final - where he could have another match-up with group winner Daniil Medvedev.
As for Medvedev, he ended up going three from three in the Red Group to take number one spot with victory over Jannik Sinner in what turned out to be a dead rubber, but yet again was pushed to three sets (as all of his matches have been) and also for the second time, needed a final set tiebreak in order to get the win. The positive for the world number two is three wins, even though he's been pushed more than he'd have liked during them.
Djokovic remains the favourite to win the tournament.
Rublev and Ruud compete for right to play Medvedev
Andrey Rublev 1.564/7 vs Casper Ruud 2.767/4: The winner of this match faces Medvedev on Saturday, with this clash the key one in today's Green Group action. Both players have got one win from two, with Rublev beating Stefanos Tsitsipas and losing to Novak Djokovic, while Ruud also was defeated by the world number one but got the win over Tsitsipas' replacement, Cameron Norrie.
The duo have met four times on the main tour previously, and Rublev has won all four, but here's a pretty decent example of a fairly irrelevant head-to-head scoreline - Ruud was not even ranked inside the top 25 when they met in all matches, and now of course both are now top 10 rivals.
However, a quick glimpse at the data from those matches suggests Ruud struggled on serve markedly, with Rublev consistently pressurising the Norwegian, so it gives some insight into what Ruud will need to do better to compete. Fortunately for him, though, he's markedly improved on serve since those clashes and actually has a higher service points won percentage on hard courts than Rublev does this year.
On this basis, and the fact that there's not much between the duo on return data, I think Ruud at the current underdog price represents some value and is today's pick to cause a little surprise.
Djokovic faces Norrie in dead rubber
Novak Djokovic 1.132/15 vs Cameron Norrie 8.07/1: With Djokovic already guaranteed top spot in the group and second alternate Norrie unable to qualify, there isn't much to play for except ranking points, prize money and pride here, and unsurprisingly, the world number one is a very strong market favourite to join Medvedev as going three from three in the group stages.
It's actually the first meeting between the duo on the main tour, which is a little surprising, and while Norrie has had an excellent year culminating with him almost directly qualifying for this event, it should be a step too far for the Brit. He's struggled against top 10 opposition in his career - he's 2-8 this year - and is yet to beat a player ranked inside the top three, with his best win coming against Dominic Thiem on clay earlier this year in Lyon.
This gives a pretty decent idea of the test Norrie faces tonight against the best player in the world and it would be a real shock if Djokovic lost, even when there's not that much riding on the match.
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