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Djokovic Makes Fast Start In Turin

  • Posted: Nov 14, 2022

Djokovic Makes Fast Start In Turin

Serbian seeking record-equalling sixth Nitto ATP Finals crown

Novak Djokovic began his quest for a record-equalling sixth Nitto ATP Finals title Monday when he defeated Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-4, 7-6(4) to end the Greek’s year-end No. 1 Pepperstone ATP Ranking chances.

Fans were dazzled by the electric light show in the Pala Alpitour prior to the match. Djokovic then took centre stage and produced a ruthless performance to move to 1-0 in Red Group.

The Serbian quickly found his range in Turin, breaking in the first game to take early control. The seventh seed pulled Tsitsipas around the court with his precise groundstrokes, while he hit a range of stunning passing shots, demonstrating great agility to triumph after one hour and 37 minutes.

“The first game was very important to break his serve,” Djokovic said. “Starting with a break of serve is obviously a huge boost in confidence and a relief as well because we both knew it would be a tight match.”

Djokovic now leads Tsitsipas 10-2 in their ATP Head2Head series, having overcome the 24-year-old en route to the title in Astana and the final in Paris in the past month.

“We have played some really close matches in the past few tournaments against each other,” Djokovic said. “It was very important to start off well. I held my serve really well throughout the match. I played a great tie-break, very solid all the way through.”

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The 35-year-old has won 14 of his past 15 matches and demonstrated his match sharpness to down the Greek again, saving the one break point he faced to improve to 42-17 at the Nitto ATP Finals.

Djokovic was at his devastating best on his forehand, scoring a forehand rating of 9.6. This season, a 9.5 or better forehand rating has happened in just 0.5 per cent of matches.

<a href=''>Novak Djokovic</a> Forehand Insights Turin 2022 Monday

Djokovic, who last lifted the Brad Drewett Trophy in 2015, is aiming to tie Roger Federer’s record six triumphs at the tournament, which is being held in Turin for the second time. The former World No. 1 will also play Andrey Rublev and Daniil Medvedev in the round-robin stage, with Rublev defeating Medvedev earlier on Monday.

Tsitsipas has earned a Tour-leading 60 wins this season and was trying to finish the season as the year-end No. 1 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings. However, his chances of ending 2022 atop tennis’ mountain are now over. The Greek, who captured the crown at the year-end event in 2019, had to win the title as the undefeated champion.

Carlos Alcaraz will finish the season as the World No. 1 if Nadal does not clinch the trophy in Turin.

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Medvedev Aiming To Find Golden Touch In Turin

  • Posted: Nov 14, 2022

Medvedev Aiming To Find Golden Touch In Turin

Fourth seed lost to Andrey Rublev on Monday

Daniil Medvedev has produced some of his best tennis at the Nitto ATP Finals in recent years, soaring to the title in 2020 before he reached the final last season.

However, he was unable to find top gear in his opening match at the 2022 edition, falling to Andrey Rublev on Monday in Turin.

“There are some matches where you feel you’re untouchable, and everything you do — let’s put it this way — turns into gold,” Medvedev said in his post-match press conference. “Today was not one of them.

“I didn’t feel amazing during the match. I would enjoy it if I would feel better in terms of tennis. But, again, looking back, [there were] some great points. This can make you play better and turn things into gold in the next matches.”

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Rublev Earns Statement Medvedev Win In Turin

Medvedev produced moments of brilliance during the two-hour, 31-minute Red Group clash, but was unable to consistently deliver to earn victory. The 26-year-old admitted that he struggled to cope with the fast indoor conditions at the Pala Alpitour, but hopes he can adjust ahead of his second match against Novak Djokovic or Stefanos Tsitsipas.

“[It is] super tough to go from Vienna, which is fast hard court, and I generally like fast hard courts more than slow hard courts, to [Paris] where it was probably the slowest indoor hard court,” Medvedev said. “Here is the fastest of the year. To get used to it you need matches. That was a match today, so that is why I’m saying I hope the next one is going to be better.

“That’s why I had some mistakes where I was late on the legs, was late in the movement and took the ball late.”

Medvedev is aiming to become the 11th player to win multiple Nitto ATP Finals titles this week. In 2020, he defeated Dominic Thiem in a three-set thriller to win the biggest title of his career at the time.

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Can Djokovic's Passion For Italy Carry Him All The Way In Turin?

  • Posted: Nov 14, 2022

Can Djokovic’s Passion For Italy Carry Him All The Way In Turin?

Serbian star has strong emotional ties to southern European country

He was not born there nor grew up there, but Novak Djokovic’s connection with Italy runs deep.

The Serbian has often spoken of his love for the southern European country — from its food to its history, to its culture. Djokovic is also fluent in Italian and interacts with several members of his team in the language.

Perhaps those positive feelings have boosted the 90-time tour-level titlist as he pursues on-court success. Djokovic is a six-time champion at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome, lifting his most recent ATP Masters 1000 title there in May. This week, the 35-year-old chases further Italian success at the 2022 Nitto ATP Finals, being held at the Pala Alpitour in Turin.

Yet while he may be very familiar with Italy, there are still some well-known aspects of the country Djokovic is yet to experience. When asked the Serbian whether he would rather spend a free afternoon climbing the active volcano Mount Vesuvius or take a trip to visit the historic Colosseum in Rome, his answer was unequivocal.

“Climb Mount Vesuvius, because I already visited the Colosseum,” said Djokovic. The 35-year-old would also opt for a new experience if given the choice between attending a Serie A football match or the historic Italian Formula 1 Grand Prix at Monza.

“Probably watch the Grand Prix, because I have watched many Serie A [matches],” said the Serbian. “I have never done a Grand Prix, so that should be a fun experience.”

When it comes to films set (or, at least, partially based) in Italy, Djokovic would opt for The Godfather over The Italian Job. Yet it is the latter that is predominantly set in the northern city of Turin, with the film’s car chase scene a particularly well-known piece of cinema. Can Djokovic forge a successful pursuit of his own this week as he bids to equal Roger Federer’s record six Nitto ATP Finals crowns?

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Koolhof/Skupski Stave Off Kokkinakis/Kyrgios In Turin Opener

  • Posted: Nov 14, 2022

Koolhof/Skupski Stave Off Kokkinakis/Kyrgios In Turin Opener

Top seeds prevail in battle of debutant pairings at Nitto ATP Finals

Wesley Koolhof and Neal Skupski showed their mettle on their Nitto ATP Finals team debut on Monday in Turin, where the top seeds withstood a big-serving barrage from Nick Kyrgios and Thanasi Kokkinakis to clinch an opening 6-7(3), 6-4, 10-5 in Green Group.

Kokkinakis and Kyrgios fired 24 aces in their first tour-level meeting with Koolhof and Skupski and looked well-placed to kick off their own maiden campaign at the season finale with victory after powering through the first-set tie-break.

The Dutch-British duo stayed patient, however, securing a crucial break in the seventh game of the second set before dominating the Match Tie-break for a 91-minute win.

Koolhof and Skupski also produced some high-class serving throughout their triumph. They won 90 per cent (43/48) of points behind their first delivery and were sharp when following at the net as they raised their level at the tail-end of the match to clinch victory.

The pair has enjoyed a stellar first year together on the ATP Tour in 2022. It has won seven tour-level titles and secured the year-end No. 1 spot in the Pepperstone ATP Doubles Team Rankings by lifting the Rolex Paris Masters trophy a week ago. 

Koolhof has enjoyed success at the year-end championships before. Two years ago, the Dutchman triumphed at the Nitto ATP Finals alongside Croatian Nikola Mektic.

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Seeing Red: Tsitsipas Seeks Djokovic Revenge in Turin

  • Posted: Nov 14, 2022

Seeing Red: Tsitsipas Seeks Djokovic Revenge in Turin

Medvedev meets Rublev in afternoon matchup

If the Green Group meant ‘go’ on the opening day of the 2022 Nitto ATP Finals, the Red Group could stand for ‘danger’ on Monday in Turin.

The loaded singles foursome features a trio of former champions — Novak Djokovic, Daniil Medvedev and Stefanos Tsitsipas — as well as the powerful Andrey Rublev, who is making his third straight appearance at the season finale. It is the first time since 1996 that three former champs have been placed in the same group. 

On Day 2, Djokovic will meet Tsitsipas in the evening session after Medvedev and Rublev square off earlier in the day.

In doubles action, Thanasi Kokkinakis and Nick Kyrgios make their much-anticipated Nitto ATP Finals debut against top seeds Neal Skupski and Wesley Koolhof, before Croatians Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic face Ivan Dodig and Austin Krajicek.

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[2] Stefanos Tsitsipas (GRE) vs. [7] Novak Djokovic [SER]

Just nine days after their semi-final thriller at the Rolex Paris Masters, Tsitsipas and Djokovic meet on an even bigger stage at the Pala Alpitour. The Greek came within three points of snapping a seven-match losing streak against the former World No. 1 in that contest, leading 4/3 in a final-set tie-break, but Djokovic surged through the finish line to prevail 6-2, 3-6, 7-6(4).

Tsitsipas was nearly rewarded for his steady strategy in the final as he patiently built points and worked his way into the frontcourt with regularity.

“I have weapons that I can use,” he said ahead of the Paris showdown. “But in the past I feel I have used too much spin or power. It’s important that I stay at a medium level and not overdo it. It will be a physical match and I will need to move well.”

Tsitsipas, who leads the ATP Tour this season in wins (60), will have another opportunity to perfect his tactics against the Serbian on Monday. He faces a tall task, with INSIGHTS Shot Quality statistics painting a pretty picture for Djokovic, who leads the pair’s ATP Head2Head 9-2.

Shot Quality: Djokovic vs. Tsitsipas

While Djokovic will not be looking beyond the second seed — who can finish the season with the year-end No. 1 Pepperstone ATP Ranking by lifting the Turin title as an undefeated champion — the Serbian is chasing some history of his own at the season finale. A five-time champion at the event, Djokovic can match Roger Federer’s record six titles by going all the way this week.

“[It would be] a perfect ending [to the season],” Djokovic told ATP Media on Friday. “The cherry on the cake, for sure, but it’s a long way. It’s a long week.”

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The Serbian has won six of the seven sets he’s played against Tsitsipas this year, earning straight-sets wins in the finals in Rome and Astana before the three-set thriller in Paris.

“I played him in the past two tournaments I played, in the final in Astana and the semi-finals in Paris,” said Djokovic. “Both matches were quite close, particularly the one in Paris. I know that I am expecting a tough match without a doubt.”

With his playing style described as ‘Solid Baseliner’ by INSIGHTS, Djokovic will one again look to use his watertight game to blunt the Tsitsipas attack. But the Serbian’s greatest strength may be a trait that cannot be quantified — his ice-cool composure under pressure.

Medvedev vs. Rublev

[4] Daniil Medvedev vs. [6] Andrey Rublev

Both Medvedev and Rublev have become regulars at the Nitto ATP Finals, with Medvedev appearing each year since 2019 and Rublev returning each year since 2020. But while Rublev is yet to advance beyond the round-robin stage, Medvedev has reached the final in each of the past two years, lifting the trophy in 2020 in the event’s last year in London.

With a 9-4 record at the season finale, Medvedev knows better than most what it takes to succeed at the unique competition. 

“From the first match, you’re going to play a tough opponent,” Medvedev said on media day. “There is a special energy about this tournament and I absolutely love it, and I hope to show my best tennis. I’m feeling confident, but you never know before the first match.”

Adding to the uncertainty is the fact that he has not met his opening opponent since the 2021 Cincinnati semi-finals, where Rublev claimed a three-set victory. Prior to that meeting, Medvedev won the four previous ATP Head2Head matchups between the pair — all in straight sets, all in quarter-finals and all on hard courts — including at the 2020 US Open and 2021 Australian Open.

While Rublev is known for his power and passion on the court, he is far more than a baseline basher. As such, the 25-year-old is looking forward to matching wits with a master tactician in Medvedev.

“Against Daniil, that’s going to be a real chess match,” Rublev said, knowing that he will have to time his aggression well. “I’m not even looking at my other matches. I believe both of us will show a great level that spectators will enjoy.”

With both players well aware of the difficulty of their group, the stakes are sky-high from the start.

Doubles Action

The ‘Special Ks’ are set to bring their brash brand of doubles to the Nitto ATP Finals for the first time, with Kokkinakis and Kyrgios seeking their third title of the season. The Australian Open champs are bidding to become the first pair of doubles debutants to reach the title match at the year-end event since 2016, and the first to claim the trophy since 2013.

“It’s [going to be] a pretty awesome experience,” Kokkinakis said. “I don’t think it’s something we expected coming into the year. To do it with such a good mate, there’s going to be good energy out there.”

The duo, who first teamed up at the 2013 Australian Open, face the toughest possible opening test against top seeds Wesley Koolhof and Neal Skupski. The Dutch-British pair is making its debut at the Nitto ATP Finals as the No. 1 team in the Pepperstone ATP Live Doubles Teams Rankings after winning a Tour-leading seven titles in 2022.

The marquee doubles matchup will be the first meeting between the pairs.


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Returning semi-finalists Mektic and Pavic will meet fifth seeds Dodig and Krajicek in the second doubles match of Day 2 — a rematch of their meeting last month in the Astana quarter-finals, won by Mektic/Pavic.

Th 33-year-old Mektic is seeking his second Nitto ATP Finals title after winning the 2020 crown alongside Wesley Koolhof. Dodig reached the 2014 final with Marcelo Melo, while Krajicek is making his debut at the season finale.

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‘It’s About Time’: Nadal Philosophical After Fritz Defeat

  • Posted: Nov 14, 2022

‘It’s About Time’: Nadal Philosophical After Fritz Defeat

Spaniard to meet Auger-Aliassime next in Turin

In just his second match in the space of 10 weeks, Rafael Nadal was defeated by the inspired debutant Taylor Fritz on Sunday at the Nitto ATP Finals. Yet there was no sign of panic from the Spaniard despite his opening loss at the Pala Alpitour, where he believes one crucial factor cost him dearly in the Green Group clash.

“It’s about time,” said Nadal at his post-match press conference. “Tennis and the sport in general, it’s about time. I have less time than him to do what I want to do on the ball. I felt that everything was going so fast. When that happens, normally you are under stress, and you don’t have the time to play the kind of shot that you want.”

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Since reaching the fourth round of the US Open while struggling with an abdominal tear in September, Nadal’s sole tour-level singles outing was a three-set defeat to Tommy Paul at the Rolex Paris Masters 11 days ago. The 36-year-old acknowledged the difficulties of taking on high-class opponents immediately after an injury lay-off.

“In most of the points of the match, I was in a defensive position, and he was in an offensive position,” said Nadal. “That’s what happened… But every single time I came back from injury, [it’s not normal] playing against top players [from] the first day. That’s what’s happens when you are coming back playing Masters 1000s and [the Nitto ATP Finals].”

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Nadal was full of praise for Fritz, the first American singles player to compete at the season finale since John Isner in 2018. The 25-year-old showed few signs of nerves as his clean hitting pulled Nadal effectively around the court throughout the pair’s round-robin clash.

“We can find different ways to explain what happened, at the end [of the day], Fritz played very well,” said Nadal. “I was not able to handle his power. It’s obvious that in this kind of surface, you need to play very well. You don’t have time to think for a tactic… There is no time. The things are going so quick.

“Serving like Fritz served, then you are under pressure all the time. When somebody is serving that way, on the return he is going for every shot. [It was] just well played from him, not enough from me.”


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Nadal is chasing his maiden Nitto ATP Finals title this week, and despite his opening defeat the Spaniard remains in contention for the coveted year-end No. 1 spot in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings. Nadal must now win the title in Turin to pip Carlos Alcaraz and Stefanos Tsitsipas in the race for World No. 1, but first he turns his attention to his next Green Group opponent, Felix Auger-Aliassime.

The Canadian also fell to an opening loss on Sunday against Casper Ruud, and Nadal is aware that his semi-final qualification hopes are hanging in the balance as he prepares for his third ATP Head2Head meeting with Auger-Aliassime.

“It’s a match like a normal tournament already, because the loser will go out of the tournament normally,” said Nadal. “[I] just accept that I need to do better things. I hope to be ready to make that happen. He finished the season playing unbelievable, winning [three] tournaments in a row, playing so well. [It is] another big challenge.”

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