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The Red Group reaches its conclusion at the ATP Finals on Thursday and the equation is simple in the first match of the day – win or go home.
For Zverev, he knows victory will book his spot in the semi-finals. For Hurkacz to progress, he must win and then hope Daniil Medvedev beats Jannik Sinner in the evening session.
From what we’ve seen in Turin so far, the former scenario is much more likely.
Zverev has played well in beating Matteo Berrettini (via injury retirement) and then losing in a final-set tie-break to Medvedev.
His first serve has been in good working order, winning 77% of points on it so far, while the German will be particularly encouraged by the fact his second serve has held up well – he won 67% of points behind that delivery against Berrettini and 65% against Medvedev.
Combined, that has seen Zverev lose serve just once so far and Hurkacz looks set for a tough time on return.
The Pole competed well in his opener against Medvedev (although notably, he couldn’t force a single break point) but was blown away by Sinner on Tuesday night, winning just four games.
Zverev’s power could cause similar problems and I’m very much expecting the favorite to win this.
Backing him to win 2-0 at -135 looks a fair play.
As shown above, there may be nothing at stake in this match – always a problem for bettors.
Medvedev has already won the group so has nothing to play for, while Sinner will also be out if Zverev wins earlier in the day.
It’s therefore hard to have a confident opinion about how this will unfold but what I do believe is that Medvedev won’t want a long, three-set match ahead of his semi-final on Saturday.
Despite having yet to drop serve, the Russian has been pushed the distance in both matches so far – Zverev kept him on court for more than two and a half hours – so energy preservation may well be the priority here.
Of course, Sinner could still have the semi-final carrot dangling in front of him. He looked in good nick against Hurkacz and if he makes a similarly-strong start, I can certainly see a scenario where Medvedev goes away fairly quietly.
That was the case in last year’s dead rubber between Dominic Thiem and Andrey Rublev – the Russian landed a straight-sets win that day, one which meant nothing in the overall scheme of things.
The problem is the Italian has struggled in previous meetings with Medvedev, losing their two matches. Both came in Marseille where conditions are fast, as they are this week.
However, that lack of motivation in Medvedev looks the key factor and so a small-stakes play on the underdog looks the way to go.
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|ATP Finals Information
|Nitto ATP Finals
|Sunday, November 14 to Sunday, November 21
|How to Watch
Andy is a sports journalist of more than 20 years’ experience and is a former betting editor of the UK-based website, Sporting Life. He has specialized in tennis for many years, previewing hundreds of ATP Tour events and reporting from tournaments such as the ATP Finals and Davis Cup final. Andy has also covered numerous other sports, with a particular interest in soccer and cricket.More info on Andy Schooler
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