It’s simple on Friday, win and you’re into the semi-final at the Nitto ATP Finals. That’s what Andrey Rublev and Casper Ruud hope for in the final Green Group matches at the Pala Alpitour in Turin.
For the first time since 1994, three of the four semi-finalists at the season finale will be former champions. Novak Djokovic, the Green Group winner, continues his quest for a record-equalling sixth Nitto ATP Finals crown, and will play 2018 titlist Alexander Zverev on Saturday, while World No. 2 and defending champion Daniil Medvedev, the Red Group winner, awaits Rublev or Ruud.
So will it be Rublev or Ruud who makes it? History is firmly in favour of Rublev, who holds a 4-0 ATP Head2Head record against first-time qualifier Ruud, and has won eight straight sets against the Norwegian after losing the first set they ever played.
But momentum is on Ruud’s side. While Rublev started strongly in Turin with a win over Stefanos Tsitsipas, he admitted to “rushing, overthinking” in defeat to Djokovic on Wednesday. Ruud, a five-time ATP Tour titlist in a career-best season, opened his campaign by losing to Djokovic, but then secured a confidence-boosting win over alternate Cameron Norrie.
Ruud will be hoping to bring all the impetus from his strong finish against Norrie to Friday’s clash and has already vowed to try to do things differently against Rublev: “I will, of course, try my best to bring something new to the table on Friday and challenge him in a different way than I’ve done before, because previously it hasn’t been working as I’ve wanted,” he said.
In the night session, Djokovic will aim to complete the round-robin stage with a 3-0 record, but Norrie is determined to make an impression. “It is going to be difficult, but I am looking forward to it,” said Norrie, ahead of his first meeting with Djokovic. “I am going to see if I belong and can compete with a guy like that.”
Djokovic, who has a 50-6 match record in 2021, said, “I always like playing new players, particularly in one of the greatest tournaments in the world here in Turin. Cameron deserves to be here, it’s not lucky. He worked his way to Turin with great wins in Indian Wells and some other tournaments, so it will be fun to watch him tonight against Ruud and I’ll get ready for my next match.”[FOLLOW FINALS]
In doubles action, it’s all to play for in the Red Group on Friday. If Rajeev Ram and Joe Salisbury beat Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah, the American-British pair win the Red Group with Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut finishing second. But if Cabal and Farah win, the identity of the semi-finalists will be decided by the evening doubles match between Herbert and Mahut, and Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares.
ORDER OF PLAY – FRIDAY, 19 NOVEMBER 2021
CENTRE COURT start 11:30 am
 R. Ram (USA) / J. Salisbury (GBR) vs  J. Cabal (COL) / R. Farah (COL)
Not Before 2:00 pm
 A. Rublev (RUS) vs  C. Ruud (NOR)
Not Before 6:30 pm
 N. Mahut (FRA) / P.-H. Herbert (FRA) vs  J. Murray (GBR) / B. Soares (BRA)
Not Before 9:00 pm
 N. Djokovic (SRB) vs [Alt/10] C. Norrie (GBR)
See below for full qualification scenarios for the Green Group (singles) and Red Group (doubles).
Singles Green Group qualification scenarios:
After defeating Rublev in straight sets, Djokovic has qualified for the semi-finals and won the group.
– Rublev qualifies on Friday if he defeats Ruud.
– Ruud qualifies on Friday if he defeats Rublev.
Doubles Red Group qualification scenarios:
– If Ram/Salisbury win -> Ram/Salisbury will win the group and Herbert/Mahut will finish second.
– If Murray/Soares win and Cabal/Farah win -> Cabal/Farah will win the group and Ram/Salisbury will finish second.
– If Herbert/Mahut win in straights and Cabal/Farah win in straights -> Herbert/Mahut will win the group and Cabal/Farah will finish second.
– If Herbert/Mahut win in straights and Cabal/Farah win in 3 -> Herbert/Mahut win the group and Ram/Salisbury finish second.
– If Herbert/Mahut win in 3 sets and Cabal/Farah win in straights -> Cabal/Farah will win the group and Herbert/Mahut will finish second.
– If Herbert/Mahut win in 3 sets and Cabal/Farah win in 3 sets -> Ram/Salisbury win the group and Herbert/Mahut finish second.