Tsitsipas, Rublev Square eliminated for Turin SF Spot | TBEN | Tennis


The final day of round-robin play at the Nitto ATP Finals will see a winner-takes-all matchup in the singles Red Group, while three doubles teams battle for a remaining semifinal spot in the Green Group on Friday in Turin.

Stefanos Tsitsipas and Andrey Rublev meet for the 11th time to determine which man will progress to the singles semi-finals alongside Novak Djokovic, who will try to stay perfect as he faces Daniil Medvedev this week.

Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic, who have sealed their progress to the knockout rounds, take on Thanasi Kokkinakis and Nick Kyrgios in evening doubles after top seed Wesley Koolhof and Neal Skupski take on Ivan Dodig and Austin Krajicek to start the day.

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[2] Stefanos Tsitsipas (GRE) vs. [6] Andrew Roelev

Tsitsipas was on the verge of falling to 0–2 late in a high-quality match against Medvedev after failing to convert three match points in the second set tiebreak. But the Greek managed to fight back from 3-5 in the third inning, broke when his opponent served for the game and eventually claimed a hard-fought victory, 6-3, 6-7(11), 7-6(1), after two hours and 21 minutes.

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Similar to his win in Cincinnati against Medvedev, Tsitsipas managed to break down the defense of the former world No. 1 by attacking the net. On Wednesday, he won 36 of 45 net points (80 percent), often behind his serve.

“I work every day to introduce [serve and volleying] back in my game,” Tsitsipas said at a post-game press conference.

“It’s kind of been lost in our sport over the years. Not many players do that anymore. I think it’s important to stay a big part of the game and have more players play it on TV, for stadiums, big ones. It’s a beautiful kind of transition from the service to the net. It introduces so many things. It’s modernized tennis, but at the same time keeping the aggressive elements of the game.”

The serve-and-volley tactic is perhaps Tsitsipas’ best method of going on the offensive against Rublev in this must-win match, with the winner advancing to the semi-finals. While the Greek’s first two Turin opponents – Djokovic and Medvedev – were content to stay solid from the baseline, the explosive Rublev will be more eager to land the first punch in the rallies.

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Tsitsipas leads the pair’s ATP Head2Head series 6-4, including a 2-0 this season with three-set wins in Madrid and Astana. Rublev’s most recent victory was in Turin last year.

“We played good tennis,” Tsitsipas said of their rivalry, which began at the 2018 Intesa Sanpaolo Next Gen ATP Finals, a tournament that Tsitsipas won a year before he lifted the 2019 Nitto ATP Finals trophy on his tournament debut. “We’ve had games against each other in the past, long games, shorter games, all kinds of games, just about all surfaces.”

The competitors are a good match across the board, not finding major benefits in the INSIGHTS Shot Quality stats, which take into account a variety of stats to score stokes on a 10-point scale.

Shot Quality: Rublev vs.  Tsitsi pass

Rublev hopes to get back in the winning streak against Tsitsipas – and progress to the Turin semi-finals for his first time in three appearances – by exploiting his improved mental game and finding his best level on the pitch. The 25-year-old identified his emotional control as key in his opening win in Turin against Medvedev, and he spoke further on the subject in his latest press release.

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“A little bit of everything,” he said, explaining how he works on the mental aspect of his game. “Of course outside the field. Also typical situations in life when you are stressed or you have some problems. Try to face them calmly even in real life because it happens every day. Someone crosses you with a car and you gets frustrated, you know Try to face it, and it doesn’t matter, face it calmly Even those things can help you.

“Also, of course, working more specifically with [my team]. Also on the track, to put it into practice. You can do it on your own every day, plus videos and meditations, things like that. So there’s everything.”

[4] Daniel Medvedev vs. [7] Novak Djokovic (SER)

While Medvedev cannot reach the semifinals, this promises to be a high-octane match with the fourth seed keen to finish his season on a high and break a seven-game losing streak against the Top 10- opponents. He faces a big challenge against Djokovic, who is in good shape.

The Serb has yet to drop a set or serve in the fraught Red Group, with just one break point to his victories against Tsitsipas and Rublev. He called his 6–4, 6–1 win against Rublev “one of the best games I’ve played this year”, noting the many free points he won on his serve.

Djokovic is feeling fresher than ever at this stage of the season, due to his limited schedule in 2022, and has made the perfect start in his bid to match Roger Federer’s record six titles in the Nitto ATP Finals.

“The advantage of not playing many tournaments is that you will be fresher than if you play a lot more, which makes sense,” said the Serb. “At the same time, it was a very unusual year for me in terms of my season. I missed some big tournaments, two of the four Slams.

“To be able to play too, I’ve been playing for the past few months, I’m very grateful for that and I’ve worked hard because I had more time to train and practice. I’ve spent quite a lot of time with my coach and with my team at on the field, off the field, trying to perfect my game.”

The most recent encounter between Djokovic and Medvedev was about to be one of the matches of the 2022 season, but Medvedev was forced to retire after pair split sets in the Astana semifinals. While their final meeting won’t have the drama of an elimination match, there’s still a lot at stake, including 200 Pepperstone ATP Rankings points and $383,300 in prize money.

In this matchup of two of the game’s ultimate lockdown baseliners, Medvedev will be looking for his first win against Djokovic since the 2021 US Open final as he looks to beat his 4-7 record in their ATP Head2Head rivalry. improve. He also hopes to break that seven-game losing streak against Top 10 opposition, dating back to his defeat to Rafael Nadal in the Australian Open final.

“It means I wasn’t good enough and I need to get better,” Medvedev said of the streak. “Mentally I don’t care if I play a Top 10 [opponent] or not. But in terms of tennis, it is more difficult to play against a Top 10 player. That means I have to play better tennis against these guys. I will try that next time, because there is no other choice.”

Double action

Mektic/Pavic’s 2-0 record guarantees them a place in the semi-finals, but their position at the top of the Green Group will be at stake against Kokkinakis and Kyrgios on Friday. Both teams enter the match after a win, with the Aussies defeating Dodig/Krajicek in a Match Tie-break on Day 4 to earn their first win in their Nitto ATP Finals debut.

Despite their 0-2 record, Dodig/Krajicek are still in the hunt for the knockout rounds, although in addition to a win from Mektic/Pavic, they also need their own team to have any chance of progression. The Croatian-American duo will take on Koolhof/Skupski, who were honored as ATP Doubles No. 1 presented by Pepperstone.

“It’s incredible,” Skupski said of the achievement. “We didn’t get together until January. One of our goals was simply to make it to the Nitto ATP Finals. We’ve come in and won seven titles this year and come in as the number 1 seeds. So this is a dream come true, to close the year number 1.

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