The Top 4 players in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings will all be in action in a pair of heavyweight clashes on semi-final Saturday at the Nitto ATP Finals.
Home favourite Jannik Sinner meets Daniil Medvedev in the afternoon session at the Pala Alpitour before World No. 1 Novak Djokovic and Carlos Alcaraz resume one of the biggest rivalries of the 2023 season on Saturday night in Turin.
 Daniil Medvedev vs.  Jannik Sinner (ITA)
Until six weeks ago, Medvedev and Sinner’s Lexus ATP Head2Head rivalry was only heading one way.
The World No. 3 Medvedev had won all six of his tour-level meetings with Sinner prior to the China Open, where the pair met in the championship match in early October. The Italian dug deep in a pair of tie-breaks in Beijing to break his duck against Medvedev, however, and backed up that win with a repeat result (this time over three sets) to become champion in Vienna later that month.
Now Sinner chases a late-season hat-trick against his Top 5 rival on an even bigger stage. The Italian racked up a perfect Green Group record this week at the Nitto ATP Finals, where he reeled off three high-class performances in front of his passionate fans. That crowd energy, which was maintained throughout his wins against Stefanos Tsitsipas, Djokovic and Holger Rune, is something Sinner will only see as a boost on Saturday when he looks to overcome Medvedev for a final berth.
“It’s a huge privilege to be here. It’s in Italy. It’s obviously a little bit more pressure, but it is kind of a positive pressure. I like to be in this situation,” said Sinner on Thursday after defeating Rune. “I think until now, in this moment, I managed it really well.
“Hopefully I can keep going like this. I think the crowd, they give me a lot of strength, especially when I’m struggling on the court a little bit… Now I have the chance to go two more matches.”
The key to Sinner reaching his maiden Nitto ATP Finals championship match will likely be his ability to hit through Medvedev’s relentless retrieving with his heavy groundsdtrokes. The fast-paced nature of the Pala Alpitour court should assist the Italian in that quest, and Medvedev will be wary of an opponent playing some of the best tennis of his career.
“At this moment he’s in top form,” said Medvedev of Sinner on Friday. “[These results in Turin] prove it… I felt like in Vienna I made a good response to what he did in Beijing, but I still lost. I need to be even better, to respond better to his shots.”
Medvedev may have dropped his final Red Group match to Alcaraz, but the 26-year-old has looked much more like his usual self this week, particularly in defeating Andrey Rublev and Alexander Zverev, than he did during his winless Turin campaign a year ago. The 26-year-old also revels in quick conditions and has won eight of his 20 tour-level crowns indoors, including at the 2020 Nitto ATP Finals in London.
Come Saturday, he will need to dial in once more if he wants to stop the Sinner party in Turin.
 Novak Djokovic (SRB) vs.  Carlos Alcaraz (ESP)
One of the most prominent storylines of the 2023 season comes to the Nitto ATP Finals as Djokovic and Alcaraz meet in a Saturday-night showdown at the Pala Alpitour.
The pair has met three times over the course of a year in which they also constantly jostled to finish as the ATP Year-End No. 1 presented by Pepperstone. That honour was ultimately sealed by Djokovic after he held off Rune in a three-set thriller his Turin opener on Sunday, but the Serbian cannot afford to relax if he wants to press on to a record seventh Nitto ATP Finals crown.
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The History Djokovic Is Chasing At The Nitto ATP Finals
Having been pushed all the way by the 20-year-old Rune and then beaten by 22-year-old Sinner this week in Turin, Djokovic needs no reminder of the ability of some of his younger rivals. He next faces the youngest of the three in 20-year-old Alcaraz, who is looking to add a Nitto ATP Finals crown to his 12 tour-level titles, which include two Grand Slams.
“The generation of Alcaraz, Rune, Sinner is very strong,” said Djokovic on Thursday in Turin. “It’s probably the three players that will carry this sport in the future but also in the present because they are right at the top of the game, all of them.”
After Djokovic downed a cramping Alcaraz in four sets at Roland Garros in June, the pair’s following two clashes count as two of the matches of the year. Alcaraz announced himself as a genuine grass-court rival to Djokovic in spectacular style at Wimbledon, where he prevailed in a five-set championship match for the ages. Djokovic had his revenge a month later, saving match point to beat Alcaraz to the ATP Masters 1000 trophy in Cincinnati.
Now 2-2 in their Lexus ATP Head2Head series, the highest-ranked rivalry in the game will move into unfamiliar territory on Saturday night in Turin. The pair has never faced off indoors, and Alcaraz is yet to win a tour-level title under a roof. On a fast court in Turin, the Spaniard’s ability to minimise errors and stay the course in extended rallies with Djokovic could be key.
Djokovic and Alcaraz may be No. 1 and No. 2 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings, but the pair’s respective levels of Nitto ATP Finals experience could hardly be more different. The six-time champion Djokovic holds a 48-18 record at the season finale and is 8-3 in semi-finals at the event. Alcaraz made a slow start to his maiden campaign on Monday, when he lost to Zverev, but bounced back quickly with straight-sets wins against Andrey Rublev and Medvedev.
”I’m dreaming about winning this tournament,” said Alcaraz on Friday. “Why not? But I have to play my best first in the semi-final. I’m going to face one of the best players in history. I’m going to face the best player in the world right now. I will have to put my best game if I want to beat him.”
After a gripping year in which the Djokovic-Alcaraz rivalry has kept tennis fans on the edge of their seats, a Nitto ATP Finals knockout battle seems a fitting finale.
Defending Champs Ram/Salisbury Aim To Extend Streak
Is there any stopping Rajeev Ram and Joe Salisbury at the Nitto ATP Finals? The defending champions extended their winning streak in Turin to eight matches with a perfect group-stage showing this week, and they will look to make it nine when they take on Santiago Gonzalez and Edouard Roger-Vasselin in Saturday’s evening semi-final in Turin.
Like Gonzalez and Roger-Vasselin, third seeds Rohan Bopanna/Matthew Ebden and fifth seeds Marcel Granollers/Horacio Zeballos can both finish 2023 as the Year-End ATP Doubles No. 1 presented by Pepperstone. One team will be knocked out of contention on Saturday afternoon, however, when they meet in the opening semi-final at the Pala Alpitour.