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Zverev Wins With Berrettini's Retirement In Turin

  • Posted: Nov 14, 2021

Matteo Berrettini’s homecoming was spoiled on Sunday evening at the Nitto ATP Finals when the Italian retired early in the second set of his match against Alexander Zverev due to an injury to his left oblique.

Zverev won a tightly contested first set 7-6(7) in 79 minutes and led 1-0 in the second set when Berrettini was unable to continue. Following a medical timeout, the home favourite attempted to continue. But after playing one more point, he walked to the net to shake hands. Zverev climbed over the net to embrace and console him.

“I don’t really know what to say, because this is the worst feeling a player can have,” Zverev said in his on-court interview. “You play all year long to qualify for this beautiful tournament. For Matteo playing at home, this is the worst feeling I think he will ever have in his career.”

Berrettini walked onto centre court at the Pala Alpitour to thunderous applause with Man On A Mission by Oh The Larceny blaring from the loudspeakers. But injury cut his evening short.

“I thought the first set was incredibly high-level tennis. This is all not important,” Zverev said. “The most important thing is that both players at the end of the match can shake hands and are healthy. Today this is not the case. I think a lot of you guys, everybody here in Italy looked forward to seeing [Matteo] play all three matches, maybe the semi-finals, maybe the final.”

Matteo Berrettini and Alexander Zverev
Photo Credit: Corinne Dubreuil/ATP Tour
Zverev moves to 1-0 in Red Group play and will next play defending champion Daniil Medvedev on Tuesday. The German, who triumphed at the season finale in 2018, is now 9-7 at the event.

Both men showed tennis worthy of the primetime slot in the first set, when they blasted the ball from the baseline and showed calm under pressure. The Italian crowd was fully behind its man from the moment he walked onto the court. From singing battle cries to waving the Italian flag, the fans created a memorable atmosphere.


Zverev saved two set points when he served at 5-6, and on both occasions Berrettini missed a backhand return. The Italian’s first set point was his best opportunity, but he lost balance as he leapt to return a second serve and launched the return well long.

The German then rallied from 3/5 down in the tie-break and ultimately took the set after putting a forehand return from full stretch within inches of Berrettini’s baseline.

“I had a lot of chances, didn’t quite get the chance to use them. But at the end of the day, it was a good first set and I was happy to win it,” Zverev said. “But then of course things turned not so good after that.”

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Granollers/Zeballos Save Four Match Points For Turin Win

  • Posted: Nov 14, 2021

Marcel Granollers and Horacio Zeballos produced a spectacular comeback to open their 2021 Nitto ATP Finals account with a win.

On their second appearance at the season-ending finale as a team, Granollers and Zeballos saved four match points and came back from 1-4 down in the second set to beat Ivan Dodig and Filip Polasek 4-6, 7-6(10), 10-6.

Dodig and Polasek had not played together since Wimbledon in July, where they lost in the second round to Jaume Munar and Cameron Norrie. In the interim, Granollers and Zeballos had reached the Wimbledon final and won their second ATP Masters 1000 title of the year in Cincinnati. Despite the hiatus in their partnership, the Croatian-Slovakian duo proved as lethal in the early stages of the match in Turin as they had in Melbourne in January. But in the long run, it was the more polished pairing who prevailed.

In a tightly-contested first set, it was the returning prowess of Polasek that made the difference. With Zeballos serving at 4-5, the door was opened for the Croatian-Slovakian pairing with Zeballos’ first double fault of the set followed by a dazzling forehand return winner from Polasek for 15-30. A clever shot from Dodig forced an error for two set points and the sixth seeds immediately converted with another lethal forehand from Polasek.

Dodig and Polasek appeared to have the match well in hand when they broke for 3-1 in the second set, proving able to read the Zeballos serve effectively once more. But the Wimbledon finalists found their own returning game in the nick of time, breaking Dodig’s serve to 15 to get back on serve for 3-4.

Dodig and Granollers have played at the Nitto ATP Finals as both opponents and partners in the past, and the Croatian read the Spaniard’s serve to perfection to set up three match points only for Granollers to fend off all three with some of his best deliveries of the match.

Momentum continued to oscillate in the ensuing tie-break. Dodig and Polasek saved four set points, while Zeballos produced the shot of the match off the forehand wing to erase a fourth match point.

But it was the doubles savvy of Granollers, the only one of the four to have won the season-ending championships in the past, which made the difference as he and Zeballos converted their fifth set point to reach a match tie-break.

Semi-finalists at the Nitto ATP Finals in 2020, Granollers and Zeballos thoroughly dominated the match tie-break to secure their 25th match win of the season.

The comeback victory sees Granollers and Zeballos move into second place in the Green Group behind top seeds Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic, who secured a straight-sets victory over Kevin Krawietz and Horia Tecau in the opening match of the Nitto ATP Finals.

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No Clear Favourite For Medvedev In Fast Turin Conditions

  • Posted: Nov 14, 2021

Defending champion Daniil Medvedev believes that the conditions at the Pala Alpitour in Turin are among the fastest on the ATP Tour, leaving no clear favourite for the Nitto ATP Finals.

“I think I prefer fast conditions, but this is probably the fastest I’ve ever faced on the ATP Tour,” said Medvedev, who beat Hubert Hurkacz 6-7(5), 6-3, 6-4 in their first Green Group match on Sunday.

“I don’t think it’s the surface itself, because it’s probably the same as in London. But I think it’s a combination of the air, which is drier here. The ball goes very fast through the air. The balls are fast and… in the match, I was barely under pressure on my serve against a great returner.”

The Russian beat Dominic Thiem in last year’s title match at The O2 in London, but feels that he may have his work cut out this week to retain The Brad Drewett Trophy.

“I know I won in London last year, it was still the Nitto ATP Finals, but everything is different [in Turin], the venue and hotel,” said Medvedev. “I feel that there may be a new winner in Turin.”

With a three-set victory over Hurkacz in just over two hours, Medvedev insists he now wants to watch the matches to see how his rivals cope with the court speed.

“It was super-fast,” said Medvedev, who warmed up for the match with Swiss Jerome Kym. “I want to watch the other three matches to see how they cope with the speed. For Hubi and I, it was a case of who makes one good shot in the point. I wonder if it’s the same for the other guys.”


At 6’6”, Medvedev moves very well, but the World No. 2 admitted that he wouldn’t win a 100-metre sprint between fellow ATP Tour players.

“When I did tests with the [Russian] Federation, when I was younger, I never did well,” said Medvedev. “I didn’t have good coordination to have a fast start and follow my pace in 100 metres, as it’s so different to what we’re doing on a court.

“I’d want to put [Alex] de Minaur there as he is super-fast, and Gael Monfils is impossible to hit winners against, as he is so explosive. I’m not sure if Novak would be good at 100 metres, but I may be mistaken!”

Medvedev has compiled a 55-12 record with four tour-level titles this season, including the US Open crown (d. Djokovic).

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Hurkacz: 'I'll Keep Fighting & Believing In Myself'

  • Posted: Nov 14, 2021

Hubert Hurkacz was determined to take the positives from his debut match at the Nitto ATP Finals despite defeat at the hands of Daniil Medvedev.

From the round-robin format to the small but elite field, the season-ending finale can be an overwhelming experience for a first-time competitor. But Hurkacz did not appear overawed by the occasion, taking the first set before Medvedev, the defending champion, turned things around to win 6-7(5), 6-3, 6-4.

“Definitely I played on a decent level. I can do even better than this,” Hurkacz said.

“I still have a chance to qualify from the group, it’s great. I’ll just keep fighting and then keep believing in myself.”

Both players had deep runs at the Rolex Paris Masters – Hurkacz reaching the semi-finals, Medvedev finishing runner-up – and had clearly brought their form and confidence to the Nitto ATP Finals’ new home in Turin. The first singles match of the tournament was heavily dominated by serve, with Hurkacz unable to create a break point on Medvedev’s serve while the second and third sets were decided by a single early break for the Russian.

Medvedev commented on the speed of the court at the Pala Alpitour in his post-match interview, and Hurkacz was quick to agree. “Here is way faster [than Paris],” he said.

“I mean the surface could be close but the balls make a huge difference, so it’s quite fast here. Daniil was serving great, I was serving decent apart from two games, it’s quite quick here.”

He added: “I think it’s just getting used to the surface, plus we both have decent serves, so maybe we both didn’t return as well as we hoped – me, for sure. When there’s a rally we can play some really good rallies, that’s what Daniil likes to do.”

Hurkacz dropped just five points behind his first serve in the first two sets, but his first-serve percentage dropped noticeably after winning the first-set tie-break. The disappointed Pole paid tribute to Medvedev’s greater consistency across the three sets after the Russian improved to 2-1 in their head-to-head.

“Daniil is an amazing player, he plays great tennis throughout the whole match. He doesn’t have dips in his game, that makes him such a tough opponent.”


Miami Open champion Hurkacz has already amply demonstrated his resilience in 2021, bouncing back from a six-match losing streak in the midst of the season to reach the Wimbledon semi-finals and ultimately qualify for the Nitto ATP Finals for the first time.

“I’ll just try to stay positive,” Hurkacz vowed. “OK, I lost this match, but I’ll think about the positives and what I can do better and prepare for the next one.”

Hurkacz can take comfort from the fact that Medvedev himself went 0-3 on his debut at the Nitto ATP Finals before winning his next six matches at the season-ending championships. But the Pole will aim to turn things around a little faster. He will face Alexander Zverev or Matteo Berrettini in his next match on Tuesday in what could be another big-serving duel.

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Medvedev Battles Past Hurkacz To Begin Nitto ATP Finals Title Defence

  • Posted: Nov 14, 2021

Daniil Medvedev made a successful start to his Nitto ATP Finals title defence on Sunday afternoon with a 6-7(5), 6-3, 6-4 victory against Poland’s Hubert Hurkacz, moving to 1-0 in Red Group action.

The Russian, who earned his fourth ATP Masters 1000 title in Toronto and his maiden major at the US Open, showed his confidence by staying calm after losing the first set. The World No. 2 battled back behind impressive serving and steady baseline play to triumph after two hours and one minute.

“I had zero break points to save, so in a way I was never under pressure,” Medvedev said in his on-court interview. “I had only two games on Hubert’s serve where I had break points. Super happy to make this work and [that I] managed to get both breaks.”

Medvedev has won 23 of his past 26 matches, with 19 of his triumphs during that stretch coming in straight sets. After going 0-3 on his debut at the season finale two years ago, he has now claimed six consecutive victories at the Nitto ATP Finals.

Tournament debutant Hurkacz competed well in his first match at the event, showing great hands at net and no fear of moving into the forecourt. But he never found a way to challenge his opponent’s serve, and that proved costly.

Hurkacz played a tremendous tie-break to move ahead, and there was no doubt this year’s Miami Open presented by Itau champion could handle the moment, having beaten Medvedev at Wimbledon earlier this year. But Medvedev buckled down in longer rallies and consistently made the extra ball. 

After winning the second set and hitting a smash to break early in the third set, Medvedev won perhaps the point of the match and waved his arms to get the Turin crowd involved. On the 29th shot of the rally — in which he played dogged defence — Medvedev hit a stunning backhand passing shot. 

“I remember this point because that’s the only point in the match where I could actually interact with the crowd a little bit,” Medvedev said. “Other than that, it was aces, winners and unforced errors.”

Medvedev did not face a break point in the match and won 83 per cent of his first-serve points. The World No. 2 hit 15 aces and in his service games rarely gave Hurkacz an opportunity to step into the court.

The other two players in the Red Group are Alexander Zverev and Matteo Berrettini, who will play not before 9 p.m. in Italy on Sunday evening.

Did You Know?
Medvedev (55-12) is now tied for the most tour-level wins this season, joining Stefanos Tsitsipas (55-18) and Zverev (55-14).

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Mektic/Pavic Presented Year-End No. 1 Trophy In Turin

  • Posted: Nov 14, 2021

After an impressive opening win on Sunday at the Nitto ATP Finals on Sunday, Croatians Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic were presented with the year-end No. 1 FedEx ATP Doubles Team Ranking trophy.

“Obviously we are extremely happy with this,” Pavic told the crowd inside the Pala Alpitour. “It’s the first time for Nikola, third time for me and the first time that two Croatians lifted this trophy at the end of the year. I just wanted to say thank you to all the team over there, the coaches, girlfriends, everybody. Thanks a lot, and I hope you’re going to enjoy some tennis this week.”

In their debut season as a team, Mektic and Pavic have won nine tour-level titles, highlighted by victories at Wimbledon, the Tokyo Olympics and three ATP Masters 1000 events.

The Croatians are the top seeds this week and are now 1-0 in Green Group action following their triumph against Kevin Krawietz and Horia Tecau. Australian Open champions Ivan Dodig/Filip Polasek and fourth seeds Marcel Granollers/Horacio Zeballos are also in their group.

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Mektic/Pavic Record 60th Match Win In 2021, Begin Nitto ATP Finals Bid

  • Posted: Nov 14, 2021

Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic started their Green Group campaign at the Nitto ATP Finals with their 60th match win of the season on Sunday.

The Croatians, who have already finished at year-end No. 1 in the FedEx ATP Doubles Team Rankings, defeated eighth seeds Kevin Krawietz and Horia Tecau 6-4, 6-4 in 77 minutes at the Pala Alpitour.

In an outstanding season, 34-year-old Mektic and 28-year-old Pavic have captured nine tour-level trophies, including at Wimbledon (d. Granollers/Zeballos), the Tokyo Olympics gold medal (d. Cilic/Dodig) and three ATP Masters 1000s: the Miami Open presented by Itau and Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters (d. Evans/N. Skupski both times), and the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome (d. Ram/Salisbury).

Following their win on Sunday, Mektic and Pavic were presented the year-end No. 1 doubles trophy by ATP Chairman Andrea Gaudenzi in an on-court ceremony.


Tecau came under pressure immediately, losing his serve when he missed a half volley at the net in the first game, but the Romanian recovered from 15/40 with four straight points at 1-3. Pavic calmly closed out the 35-minute opener with a hold to love in a serve-dominated performance, with the Croatians striking four aces and winning 90 per cent of their first-service points overall.

The second set turned in favour of Mektic and Pavic when Krawietz hit a second double fault on the deciding point at 2-2. It proved to be decisive, as Mektic later closed out the match with an ace.

Krawietz and Tecau are now 28-14 on the season. Six years ago, Tecau did not drop a set en route to 2015 Nitto ATP Finals trophy with Jean-Julien Rojer to the season as the World No. 1 team.

Fourth seeds Marcel Granollers and Horacio Zeballos, and sixth seeds Ivan Dodig and Filip Polasek also feature in the Green Group at the Pala Alpitour in Turin.

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Turin's Sonego Reveals 'Goal For The Rest Of My Life: Playing For My People'

  • Posted: Nov 14, 2021

The eight singles players and 16 doubles competitors at the Nitto ATP Finals will get to know Turin plenty well this week during the event’s first edition in the city. But nobody on the ATP Tour knows Turin better than Lorenzo Sonego, who still lives there today.

The Italian is proud of his hometown, from its restaurants and scenery to museums and galleries.

“The centre is nice. The Piazza Vittorio is a big place for the young people and for all the people. Piazza Vittorio and Piazza Castello are two unbelievable places,” Sonego told “In Turin there is the Po River — the big river in Italy — and small buildings. It’s the Po River, the big river in Italy.

“It’s really nice if you want to walk on the river and there are many restaurants there that are really nice.”

You cannot go anywhere in Turin without seeing some sort of signage promoting the Nitto ATP Finals. There is a fan village in Piazza San Carlo with a tennis court and various booths. There is also a giant billboard of Matteo Berrettini looking over the twin churches of Santa Cristina and San Carlo Borromeo — featuring Baroque-style architecture — in the historic city square.

“The atmosphere is really cool,” Sonego said. “You can find everything in Turin.”

There are stores and restaurants that line both sides of the cobblestone streets, and people are constantly milling about throughout the day. But one thing sticks out to Sonego.

“There are so many museums. It’s good for the heart in general,” Sonego said. “There is the Museo Egizio, the Egyptian Museum, which is really nice. I was there a few months ago, it was really cool and really nice.

“They have different parts of Egyptian history. I don’t like museums, but I like this museum because it’s the most important in Turin and in Italy.”

According to the 26-year-old, Turin is “a big city, but not too big”. And of course, he loves the food.

“In Italy, all the food is really good,” Sonego said. “In the south there is pizza, in the north there is ham and salami. The cheese is really good, the pasta is good. All the food in Turin is amazing.”


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Above all, Sonego is thrilled that the Nitto ATP Finals is now in the city, showcasing it to the world. This year’s Cagliari champion is a huge Torino F.C. fan and fittingly, the club’s stadium, Stadio Olimpico Grande Torino, is right next to the Pala Alpitour, which is the home of the season finale.

The venue is home to various events throughout the entertainment industry, from basketball and ice hockey to music concerts, which Sonego calls “really cool”.

“Now it has the [Nitto] ATP Finals and that is the best thing. It is for sure good motivation. It’s really important for me, because it’s the best tournament in the world and now it is in my city,” Sonego said. “For me, it’s really emotional. That is my goal for the rest of my life: playing in Turin with my people, with my fans and enjoying this tournament because it’s the best in the world.”

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Preview: Will Hubi Borrow Novak's Playbook For Medvedev Battle?

  • Posted: Nov 14, 2021

World No. 2 Daniil Medvedev has every reason to feel like the big man on campus this week at the Nitto ATP Finals following his unbeaten run to last year’s title at The O2, which brought to an end the tournament’s 12-year stay in London.

So expect the lanky Russian – who has been likened to an on-court octopus with arms and legs flailing far and wide as part of his imposing defense – to be high on confidence when he takes on Polish debutant Hubert Hurkacz in the Day 1 day session Sunday at the Pala Alpitour.

The venue and city may be different – Turin, Italy, which becomes the 15th host city of the season finale – but the fundamentals of the Russian’s prowess on indoor hard court remain the same. Last year Medvedev became the first player to beat the world’s Top 3-ranked players (Djokovic, Nadal, Thiem) en route to the title, which followed his run to the Rolex Paris Masters crown.

Medvedev, who was denied a successful title defense by Djokovic in last Sunday’s Bercy final, is looking to become the first back-to-back Nitto ATP Finals champion since the Serb won four straight between 2012-15.

This year’s US Open champion came into the final weeks of last season low on confidence but his victories in Paris and London rejuvenated him heading into 2021, a year in which he has made the World No. 2 spot his own.

“We had the pandemic when we didn’t play for a long time [in 2020 and] I had some problems with my body. So coming back was not easy, but these two tournaments last year brought back my confidence,” Medvedev said. “It was enough for all this year, knowing that I could beat the best players in the world.”

Hurkacz, who last week pushed Djokovic to a third-set tie-break in the semi-finals, may have learned something from the World No. 1’s winning tactics in the Paris final against the deep-court-returning Russian.


How To Watch


Throwing out his losing playbook from the US Open final, Djokovic attempted 39 serve/volley plays against Medvedev in the Rolex Paris Masters final in a tactical masterclass. He won 19 of 22 serve/volley points. (He served a fault on the other 17 would-be serve/volley attempts.)

Despite the data, Hurkacz tells that he doesn’t think serve and volley is a panacea when trying to blunt Medvedev’s return game, but also doesn’t rule out coming in behind his thundering serve. “Daniil’s an amazing player who stands back on the return to take full cuts and he really places the ball in tricky spots. So sometimes maybe you can serve and volley, but as well he can navigate that ball and try to pass you up there off the first shot.”

The players’ two career ATP Head2Head meetings came this year and both have gone the distance. Hurkacz beat Medvedev in five sets in the Wimbledon fourth round before the Russian got his revenge in Toronto with a third-set tie-break victory.

Zverev v Berrettini

In the evening match, Italian Matteo Berrettini will ride raucous support from passionate home fans into battle with 2018 finale champion Alexander Zverev, who in making his fifth consecutive appearance, has the most experience at the tournament of any player other than Novak Djokovic.

“I feel the pressure, but it’s a good pressure. It’s so nice to be here,” Berrettini said. “I know that the crowd is going to be on my side, and I really cannot wait to step on the court.”

Zverev leads their ATP Head2Head series 3-1, including their lone hard-court meeting (Shanghai 2019) and their lone 2021 meeting (in the three-set Madrid final). The German World No. 3 has enjoyed another strong season and brings an equal-tour-leading 55 match wins into the tournament.

“I have played good tennis this year,” said Zverev. “I’ve won five titles and I’m the only player who has won multiple [ATP] Masters [1000 titles] this year. It comes with good tennis, also, at the Olympics, I won a gold medal. I am looking forward to this tournament. I didn’t come here just as a participant, but I want to win matches and do well here.”

In 2021, the 24-year-old won the Tokyo Olympics gold medal (d. Khachanov), two ATP Masters 1000 titles at the Mutua Madrid Open (d. Berrettini) and Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati (d. Rublev), plus two ATP 500 crowns: the Abierto Mexicano Telcel presentado por HSBC in Acapulco (d. Tsitsipas) and the Erste Bank Open in Vienna (d. Tiafoe).

“Matteo is a superstar here, everyone likes him,” Zverev said. “I look forward to the match, we are among the best players in the world so there are no easy matches. I definitely look forward to that match and the energy on Sunday.”


Mektic/Pavic Begin Quest For Perfect End To Season
Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic fittingly have the honour of kicking off the 2021 Nitto ATP Finals when they confront Kevin Krawietz and Horia Tecau in the first match of the tournament. They Croatians, who have already clinched year-end No. 1 after winning nine titles, are looking to round out their explosive first season together with their 10th title of the year. They lead Krawietz and Tecau 2-0 in meetings this year.

In the evening session, Marcel Granollers and Horacio Zeballos (24-11, 2 titles in 2021) will look to repeat their first-round win over Ivan Dodig and Filip Polasek (20-11, 1 title) in Montreal during the summer.

CENTRE COURT start 11:30 am

[1] N. Mektic (CRO) / M. Pavic (CRO) vs [8] K. Krawietz (GER) / H. Tecau (ROU) 

Not Before 2:00 pm
[2] D. Medvedev (RUS) vs [7] H. Hurkacz (POL) 

Not Before 6:30 pm
[4] M. Granollers (ESP) / H. Zeballos (ARG) vs [6] I. Dodig (CRO) / F. Polasek (SVK) 

Not Before 9:00 pm
[3] A. Zverev (GER) vs [6] M. Berrettini (ITA) 

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