Hollywoodbets Sports Blog: 2020 ATP Tour: Nitto ATP Finals

2020 ATP Tour: Nitto ATP Finals

We take a look at the Selected Round Robin Matches from the Nitto ATP Finals taking place at O2 Arena, London (Indoor Hardcourt).

Photo Copyright - Steve Haag Sports

Two women looking excitedly at cellphone

O2 Arena, London (Indoor Hardcourt)
Nitto ATP Finals
Selected Round Robin Matches- 17th November

Rafael Nadal (4/7) vs Dominic Thiem (11/8)
It’s really remarkable to consider that Nadal is yet to win a season-ending ATP finals title. He has oft complained that the ATP should by rights contest this event on clay from time to time. Many believe that his indoor hardcourt ‘limitations’ affect his standing as potentially the greatest tennis player of all time.  The two-time finalist showed little nerve in his opening match, absolutely demolishing red-hot Russian talent Andrey Rublev. He won 82% of his first serve points and didn’t face a single breakpoint. It was a crushing display that certainly highlighted his intent this week. What was notable was his increased aggression on the Rublev second serve. He has often been accused of being slightly reactive on these surfaces in the past, far too eager to get involved in extended exchanges. His next opponent will be last year’s beaten finalist (who certainly never had it as easy in his opening match).  

World Number Three Dominic Thiem had to battle past Stefanos Tsitsipas in his opening match (in what was a repeat of last year’s final). He seemed to grow stronger as the match progressed, shrugging off any lingering injury concerns after that scare in Paris. He really started to bludgeon the Greek in the 3rd set with those humungous forehands. That will likely end up as the pattern for this match. How many opportunities will the Austrian have to run around his forehand? Thiem has improved immeasurably as a hardcourt force in the last few years. He won the 2019 Indian Wells title before beating Nadal in this year’s Aussie Open (he would ultimately lose to Djokovic in the final). He then went on to victory at an understrength US Open. Thiem’s progress in this event is also evident: last year’s final appearance was the first time in four attempts that he made it past the round-robin phase.

This is an interesting head-to-head.  Nadal leads the Austrian 9-5. Having said that, Thiem has beaten Nadal on clay four times. To beat Nadal that consistently on clay indicates his level of comfort against the Spaniard. They are yet to meet on an indoor hardcourt. I think Thiem has matured to the point that he could win this match.  His forehand holds the key to victory here.  

Jockeys Ride Horses

Stefanos Tsitsipas (4/5) vs Andrey Rublev (1/1)
Andrey Rublev looked slightly out of his depth in his debut ATP Finals appearance on Sunday. That may have been a result of first-time jitters. Or perhaps the five-time winner on tour this year was feeling the impact of a particularly elongated campaign. Either way, Rublev is going to have to serve better to win this match.  He only managed to make 41% of his first serves in the first set against Nadal.  In the second set he never won a single point on his 2nd serve! That’s a disturbing statistic. But I think that Nadal is singularly suited to take on Rublev.  The lefty is able to expose Rublev’s backhand weaknesses with those cross-court exchanges.  I think Rublev has shown plenty of quality this year and should be far better this time out. Not only has he won five titles this year, he also has two Grand Slam quarterfinals to his name.  

Defending champion Stefanos Tsitsipas will feel deflated after the defeat to Thiem. He surrendered slightly meekly following an excellent 2nd set rally. 2020 has been a year of consistency as opposed to breakthrough for the Greek.  He has only one title to his name: in Marseille. Finals in Hamburg and Dubai accompany semi-final runs at Roland Garros and the Western and Southern Open. I just wonder how dejected he may feel after that Thiem defeat. He does have the tendency to let matches simmer in his consciousness. The Greek will need to get his backhand down the line in working order. Any crosscourt backhands with little action will be brutalized by the Rublev forehand (just look at their recent Hamburg match as Exhibit A).  

This one has coin-toss written all over it. They share the head-to-head spoils at 2-2. They have met twice on clay this year, with Rublev winning in Hamburg and Tsistipas exacting revenge in Paris. I personally feel that Rublev will have the edge on this surface. All the first match anxiety will be gone and he will much prefer this clash of styles. 

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