Match Preview

'Win & In' For Alcaraz Against Medvedev

Rublev meets Zverev in evening session
November 16, 2023
Carlos Alcaraz and Daniil Medvedev are tied at 2-2 in their Lexus ATP Head2Head series.
ATP Tour
Carlos Alcaraz and Daniil Medvedev are tied at 2-2 in their Lexus ATP Head2Head series. By ATP Staff

The final day of group play at the Nitto ATP Finals will determine who joins Daniil Medvedev in advancing out of the Red Group. The third seed, already through to the Turin semi-finals with a 2-0 record, will meet Carlos Alcaraz in the afternoon before Alexander Zverev takes on Andrey Rublev in the evening.

With Alcaraz able to seal his semi-final place with a win, Zverev will be rooting for Medvedev in the hopes that his own qualification hopes are still alive when he takes the court.

[2] Carlos Alcaraz (ESP) vs. [3] Daniil Medvedev

Alcaraz earned his first career Nitto ATP Finals win by beating Andrey Rublev on Wednesday, improving to 1-1 in his Turin debut. Coupled with Medvedev's straight-sets win against Zverev, that result put the Spaniard's fate firmly in his own hands.

If Alcaraz can avenge his US Open semi-final defeat to Medvedev on Friday, the 20-year-old will join the third seed in the knockout rounds. 

“I will have to approach it differently," Alcaraz said of his mentality and tactics, referring back to their New York meeting. “Medvedev is one of the best players in the world... You have to play very well tactically, be patient and aggressive at the same time. It’s very difficult to beat him. You have to wait for the opportunity, but run and be calm, and get five or six shots in per point until the chance comes, while being aware that often it won’t.”

Alcaraz has beaten Medvedev twice this season — in the Indian Wells final and the Wimbledon semis — but their Lexus ATP Head2Head record stands at 2-2. While Medvedev is already through to the semis, he is eager to edge ahead in the budding rivalry to build his momentum ahead of the weekend.

"I'm going to try my best to play Carlos," said Medvedev, who will be playing for significant Pepperstone ATP Rankings points and prize money. "The moment you relax and say to yourself, 'Maybe this match I can go easier,' you can lose all the rhythm. That's how tennis is."

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While Medvedev has steadily shown a high level in Turin, Alcaraz did not find his best tennis until his second match, after an opening loss to Zverev. Medvedev noticed the Spaniard's improvement and is expecting more of the same in their matchup. But there is one key factor that could play to his advantage at the Pala Alpitour.

"Here [on the fast court], there is an opportunity," Medvedev said. "You can serve aces against him like Sascha did. So I need to play fast. I need to make winners before he does it."

While this matchup between one of the steadiest players on the ATP Tour and one of the game's most electric stars promises an intriguing juxtaposition of styles, Medvedvev's comments suggest he won't be content to grind away from the baseline for too long.

[5] Andrey Rublev vs. [7] Alexander Zverev (GER)

Alexander Zverev has won the Nitto ATP Finals twice, in 2018 and 2021. On both of those occasions, he lost his second round-robin match before bouncing back to claim the crown.

"That obviously gives me hope," said the German, who enters Friday's play at 1-1. But his hopes are also resting on Medvedev's ability to defeat Alcaraz, and Zverev said he will be the third seed's "No. 1 fan" on Friday.

When he takes the court himself, he'll strive to play at a similar level to his Wednesday showing against Medvedev — but with better poise in the clutch moments. 

"It's frustrating because I think the tennis that I played maybe deserved more than losing in straight sets in a way," he said after the pair's sixth Lexus ATP Head2Head meeting of the season. The German was in a strong position in both sets of a 7-6(7), 6-4 loss, but made crucial errors late in each frame as Medvedev surged.

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Rublev has also endured a frustrating campaign following his semi-final run last year in Turin. But the fifth seed is assured of finishing the season at a career-high Pepperstone ATP Ranking of World No. 5 based on other results at the event. Now he has a chance to finish his season on a high note against Zverev.

While the German leads the pair's Lexus ATP Head2Head series 5-3, Rublev has won their past three meetings — all this season, in Dubai, Bastad and Vienna.

High Stakes In Koolhof/Skupski vs. Bopanna/Ebden Matchup

Second seeds Wesley Koolhof and Neal Skupski will face third seeds Rohan Bopanna and Matthew Ebden in what essentially amounts to a quarter-final, with the victor set to progress to the semis along with group-winners Rajeev Ram and Joe Salisbury.

Ram/Salisbury have made the perfect start to their Turin title defence and have clinched first place in the Red Group with their 2-0 record. They will meet Aussies (and Australian Open champions) Rinky Hijikata and Jason Kubler on Friday evening.

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