The current No. 1 player in the World, Rafael Nadal, will face Alexander Zverev in his first match for the Nitto ATP Finals.
On a battle with Novak Djokovic to claim the No. 1 spot in the rankings, the Spaniard sees himself obliged to win in order to maintain his position. There’s different scenarios where this might happen. If he reaches the final, winning all of his matches until there, he’ll have his spot guaranteed no matter the outcome. Actually there’s a big chance for that scenario to come to fruition. The only player capable of taking him down on his way to the semi-final could be Daniil Medvedev in the group stages, as they’ve recently clashed in the US Open final in an unbelievable 5-setter. Seeing Roger Federer lose in his first match could prove to be a big boost for Nadal, as he’ll probably won’t face him if he advances. It remains to be seen if his health will be up to par, because motivation was never a problem in Rafa’s whole career. Their Head-to-Head should factor in this match as well, as the German hasn’t beaten his opponent a single time yet.
Alexander Zverev is the defending champion of this tournament, but his group is no easy task. He starts right away with Rafael Nadal, who’s looking to make the final at least, and then has two gigantic battles with former Next Gen companions in Medvedev and Tsitsipas. His indoor record is not good this year, where he only played three matches, winning only one against Fernando Verdasco at the Paris Masters. If he somehow could regain his form that took him to win last season, there could be a chance for an upset here, even though he lost his previous five meeting with the Spaniard.
Even though Nadal’s the favorite here, I expect Zverev to have a strong 1st set, in order to disrupt his opponent’s confidence a little bit, while taking the set to distance.
Set 1 - Over 9.5 Games @1.72
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