ATP Finals Daily Preview: Jannik Sinner Plays Novak Djokovic in the Championship Match - UBITENNIS
Connect with us

ATP

ATP Finals Daily Preview: Jannik Sinner Plays Novak Djokovic in the Championship Match

Published

on

Novak Djokovic on Saturday in Turin (twitter.com/atptour)

It’s Championship Sunday in Turin, with the singles and doubles champions to be crowned. 

This past Tuesday, Jannik Sinner earned his first career victory over Novak Djokovic in his fourth try, and in the best match of the 2023 ATP Finals thus far.  Just five days later, Sinner will look to repeat that feat and beat the all-time great for the second time this week.  Jannik is playing for the biggest title of his young career, and trying to deny Novak a record-breaking seventh title at the ATP Finals.

Also on Sunday, In the doubles championship match, it’s Marcel Granollers and Horacio Zeballos (5) vs. Rajeev Ram and Joe Salisbury (6).  Ram and Salisbury are looking to defend their titles from a year ago, while Granollers and Zeballos are vying for their biggest title as a team, though Granollers won this event back in 2012 alongside Marc Lopez.  Last year in the round-robin stage of this tournament, Ram and Salisbury defeated Granollers and Zeballos in a third-set tiebreak, though earlier this season on clay in Rome, Granollers and Zeballos avenged that loss, in another match decided by a third-set tiebreak.


Jannik Sinner (4) vs. Novak Djokovic (1) – Not Before 6:00pm

Sinner is the only singles player to go 4-0 this past week, with victories over Djokovic, Tsitsipas, Rune, and Medvedev.  His last three matches have all been three-setters, including a highly-competitive semifinal on Saturday against Medvedev.  Jannik is now 61-14 on the year, with four titles, two of which have come this fall.  He’s now claimed 17 of his last 18 matches, with the only loss coming against Ben Shelton in Shanghai.  And Sinner owns a career record of 10-3 in ATP finals, though two of those losses occurred this year.

Djokovic is 3-1 this week, and has now won 21 of his last 22 matches, with an overall record of 54-6 this season, and six titles (three of which were Majors).  His loss to Sinner on Tuesday is the only match he’s lost since losing the Wimbledon final to Carlos Alcaraz.  Djokovic rather comfortably defeated Alcaraz in Saturday’s semifinals, spending considerably less time on court than Sinner did in his semifinal earlier in the day.  In his 16th appearance at the ATP Finals, this is Novak’s ninth time reaching the championship match, where he is 6-2 previously.  Since winning this event a year ago, he is now 7-1 in his last eight tournament finals.

Djokovic leads their head-to-head 3-1, and they split their two prior meetings in 2023.  In comparing the stats between Novak’s straight-set victory over Jannik in this year’s Wimbledon semis, to Jannik’s three-set win over Novak on Tuesday, the first thing that stands out is Sinner’s improved serve.  At Wimbledon, he served eight aces and three double faults, compared to 15 aces and only two doubles on Tuesday.  And the other big difference is how Jannik took advantage of his break point chances.  At Wimbledon, we was 0-for-6 on break points, while on Tuesday he was 2-for-3.

Sinner has been the best player of the week, with the significant improvements he’s made in his game rewarded by the fast-playing courts in his home country.  As per Tennis Channel, Jannik has the fastest average speed on both his forehand and backhand out of any player in this field.  The Italian has also embraced the home crowd support, and played his best tennis during the most crucial moments.  But can he maintain that level to earn a second victory this week over 2023’s best player?

Jannik will also have to overcome a disturbing trend, as far as his chances are concerned.  Three out of the last four times the singles final at this event has been a rematch from round-robin play, the player who lost the round-robin match was victorious in the final.  That bodes well for Djokovic, and he’s also one of the players to previously do just that.  Back in 2015, he defeated Roger Federer in straight sets after losing to Roger earlier in the week.  However, Novak was also a victim of that trend in 2018, when he lost the final to Sascha Zverev.

As great as Sinner has performed this week, it’s hard to imagine him mustering the effort to defeat the 24-time Major champ again on Sunday.  And Djokovic will be motivated to avenge the one loss on his record from the last four months.  Novak continually reminds us how much he enjoys fighting off the younger generation’s best, and he is the favorite to overcome one of the sport’s fastest-rising stars on Sunday.  It would be his seventh title at the ATP Finals, surpassing Federer’s tally of six, and coming 15 years after his first.


Sunday’s full Order of Play is here.

ATP

World No.32 Davidovich Fokina Replaces Long-Time Coach With Verdasco

Published

on

Fernando Verdasco was spotted earlier this week briefly watching Ons Jabeur play at the French Open but his focus this year is on another player.

The former top 10 player has landed a new coaching job after being hired by compatriot Alejandro Davidovich Fokina. Somebody who he once played a Tour-level doubles match alongside back in 2020. Fokina has opted to stop working with Jorge Aguirre, who has been his mentor since he was a child.

The change comes after what has been a mixed start to the season for Fokina who has only managed to win back-to-back matches in two out of 11 tournaments played before the start of Roland Garros. His sole win over a top 20 player occurred at the start of 2024 when he beat Hubert Hurkacz at the United Cup.  

“I will be very brief. I have left it with Jorge (Aguirre) and I start with Verdasco, with whom I have had a good relationship for years. He has not officially retired, but I knew that he was training other players and it was time,” Fokina told reporters after beating Valentin Vacherot in the first round of the French Open.
“It was time to close a stage and start a new one. With his experience, Verdasco can help me a lot to face the games, to assume that pressure and tension of the competition.”

Verdasco has won seven ATP titles during his career and reached the semi-finals of the 2009 Australian Open. At this year’s Madrid Open, he briefly helped Jabeur whose main coach Issam Jellali was unable to attend the tournament. 

Fokina will next play Casper Ruud in Roland Garros.

Continue Reading

ATP

Roland Garros 2024: Casper Ruud Explains Geneva Decision, Martin Etcheverry Talks Roland Garros And Djokovic Influence

Two-time finalist Casper Ruud is into the second round with a straight sets win over Felipe Meligeni Alves.

Published

on

(@WeAreTennis - Twitter)

Casper Ruud has explained the decision behind playing in Geneva last week after he defeated Felipe Meligeni Alves 6-3 6-4 6-3.

The world number seven is into the second round after a straight sets win over the Brazilian qualifier.

Ruud has reached the final the past two occasions here having lost to Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic in those respective finals.

Now the Norwegian is targeting more success in Paris this year and spoke about his opening round performance after the match, “Yeah, I was honestly very happy. I think it was a good start,” Ruud stated in his press conference.

“I think Felipe is a dangerous player, and obviously I didn’t know him so well. So not easy to know what’s going to come out of his racquet. I think he was firing pretty good serves and forehands.

“Overall, I think it was a pretty high-quality match and happy to be through in straight sets. That’s just what I was kind of hoping and looking for. Yeah, I’m very happy to be through.”

Given Ruud’s history at Roland Garros, there would be no reason to suggest that the Norwegian would need to play his way into form.

However that’s exactly what he did in Geneva the week before Roland Garros as he won the title in Switzerland.

After his opening round match Ruud was asked about why he always plays in Geneva instead of practicing on-site in Paris, “No, I decide based on the fact that I enter the tournament, and with the purpose of going. But of course, if you do super well in Madrid and Rome and you play, let’s say, 10 matches or more within those two weeks or the two tournaments, maybe, depending on how your body feels, it’s kind of easier to skip it,” Ruud explained.

“But that wasn’t the case for me in Madrid and Rome. I played only four matches there. I lost early in Rome. If I didn’t play Geneva I would have had 17 or 18 days since I lost in Rome until starting in Roland Garros, which in my eyes, my feeling, is just a bit too much. For some players, they don’t think it’s too much. They don’t have a problem with it.

“But for me I like going into tournament kind of mode and feeling in the zone when you’re playing an official match. That’s why I like playing. It gives me kind of confidence and match feeling going into a Grand Slam, which is the Grand Slam that I personally feel like I have the most chances to do well in.”

Ruud will aim to continue his good run of form when he takes on Alejandro Davidovich Fokina in the second round.

Martin Etcheverry Speaks On Roland Garros And Djokovic Influence

Finally Tomas Martin Etcheverry defeated Arthur Cazaux in four sets to seal his place in the second round.

The Argentinian is a big Novak Djokovic fan and after the match spoke about his love for Roland Garros and has tipped Djokovic to win this year’s tournament, “I think it’s my favorite tournament since I was a child, and I always want to play here,” Martin Etcheverry explained.

“This is a moment of the year that I want to be here and try to play my best tennis because I want to get a good result here.

“Yeah, is he my idol, and he is the No. 1 of the world. I don’t know, like six years right now. Yeah, I always try to watch him, trying to improve the game. I always trying to saw him. Yeah, I think he’s going to be No. 1 a lot of time. I don’t know if they have a good year this year, but I think it’s Novak Djokovic. Maybe he can win this tournament.”

Martin Etcheverry will play another Frenchman in the form of Arthur Rinderknech in the second round with Ruud being the potential third round opponent.

Continue Reading

ATP

Grand Slam Quarter-Finalist Van De Zandschulp Pondering Retirement After French Open Exit

Published

on

image via https://x.com/Boticvdz/

Botic van de Zandschulp has revealed he is losing his passion for tennis and is considering retiring from the sport following his exit from the French Open on Monday.

The 29-year-old was knocked out of the tournament in straight sets by Fabio Fognini, who eased his way to a 6-1, 6-1, 7-5, victory. It is the second Grand Slam in a row where he has fallen at the first hurdle with the 2022 Wimbledon championships being the last major event where he won back-to-back matches.   

“I don’t look forward to competitions at all anymore,” Zandschulp told Dutch media.
“I have been asking myself more and more lately whether I want to continue.
“You have to do work that you enjoy. Everyone has a bad day every now and then. But if there are too many, then you have to ask yourself whether you want to continue.” 

Zandschulp has been the top-ranked player in his country with his most notable achievement being a run to the quarter-finals of the 2021 US Open. The former world No.22 is a two-time runner-up at the Munich Open but is yet to win an ATP Tour title. He has registered a total of six wins over top 10 players, including Casper Ruud and Andrey Rublev. 

However, recent difficulties on the Tour have left the Dutchman questioning if he wants to continue playing.  

“I like the training. Those are great days. But when I get up in the morning, I no longer look forward to the matches at all.” He commented.

Zandschulp’s remarks could be a reaction to his frustrating loss to Fognini. However, he confirmed that he has been considering retiring for a long time. 

“It was the worst match I have played in my life,” he said. 
“Of course, it is now fresh after the match. That plays a role in my mind, but the thoughts of quitting have been there for a long time. It is not an easy life as a tennis player. You really live your life, play thirty weeks a year and travel from pillar to post.
“If you don’t play, someone else will pass you by (in the rankings). That’s why I now play extra tournaments instead of charging myself at home.”

Zandschulp is currently ranked 102nd in the world and is scheduled to play in the French Open doubles event on Tuesday.

Continue Reading

Trending