Djokovic v Alcaraz, Sinner v Medvedev SFs At ATP Finals, Who’s The Pick?

by Sean Randall | November 18th, 2023, 12:39 am

It’s a dream final weekend for the ATP in Turin. The Italian city hosts the last eight and Saturday it’s the last four and without much argument, it’s the best four of the season.

Having played a full, unobstructed season, Novak Djokovic has already wrapped up No. 1 and now stands two wins from a record-breaking seventh year-end ATP Finals title.

Djokovic won his first ATP Finals trophy in 2008 when his semifinal opponent, Carlos Alcaraz, was five!!!

Alcaraz has been good in his debut, beating both Russians after falling to former winner Alexander Zverev on Monday in his opener. Friday, on a quick indoor court Alcaraz rolled past Daniil Medvedev 6-4, 6-4 earning some measure of revenge for that US Open defeat. If Alcaraz is on, on a fast court it spells trouble for Medvedev. Now his “revenge tour” continues Saturday against the Serb.

Jannik Sinner is making the most of his ATP Finals debut (as a qualifier). The 22-year-old has fought through two three setters in his last two matches including that thriller over Djokovic. He’s 3-0, full of life, energy and motivation, especially in front of his home fans. Though his win over Holger Rune yesterday may come back to bite him on Sunday!

And then there’s Medvedev. Medvedev won the title in 2020 but will have to beat Sinner and then either Djokovic or Alcaraz in the final. That’s brutal. And he hasn’t beaten a Top 5 player in a final since that Djokovic US Open in 2021.

So the stage is set for two super semifinal showdowns. On to my picks.

Jannik Sinner vs Daniil Medvedev
Medvedev leads 6-2 but of late it’s been Sinner. Sinner’s wins are both fresh in finals from last month in Beijing in straights and in the Vienna finals in three.

“At this moment he’s in top form,” Medvedev said today. “This result prove it. So he can do everything.

“I felt like in Vienna I made a good response to what he did in Beijing, but I still lost. I need to be even better, to respond better to his shots.

“Here he played unbelievable, but he still lost two sets. That’s what I’m going to try to aim for: try to play like guys who won the set from him. I need to definitely be at my absolute best and better than today tomorrow.”

Sinner doesn’t quite have the up-front court position, speed and drop shot like Alcaraz, so I think it’s a better match-up for Medvedev. But Sinner’s form right now and his jaw-dropping power from everywhere plus the home crowd should push him over the top here.

Medvedev will likely use the crowd as well and maybe he can get Sinner a little tight. This isn’t the round robin anymore, this is a knockout semifinal with his fans all counting on their home hero. So maybe Sinner finally flinches. Or he doesn’t.

“I’s a huge privilege to be here,” Sinner said. “It’s in Italy. It’s obviously a little bit of pressure more, but it is kind of a positive pressure. I like to be in this situation.”

Medvedev’s had a bounce-back year, but I still don’t feel like he’s at his best level. And on the other side Sinner’s perhaps never been better having won 16 of his last 18 since the US Open.
The Pick: Sinner in 2

Novak Djokovic v Carlos Alcaraz
These two will meet for a fifth time after splitting the first four. In fact, they’ve alternated wins with Alcaraz projected to win this one of you go by the trend. However, I’m going the other way.

Alcaraz had a good win over Medvedev — again, on a fast court it’s a good match-up — and he beat Andrey Rublev who went winless this week.

Bigger picture, Alcaraz has had some injury issues, some struggles with his game and he hasn’t won a title since scratching out that Wimbledon trophy… over Djokovic!

Djokovic did get him back in the Cincinnati final and I think this event is good for the Serb. The quick courts, the experience, the body and mind all favor Novak here.

Six months ago, one could argue Alcaraz. But Djokovic has won 33 of his last 35 matches. His 19-match win streak was snapped at the wire by second hottest player this fall, Sinner.

“Hopefully it’ll be a repeat of what happened in the Wimbledon final,” Alcaraz said Friday. “I’m going to try and find my A-game. We’ll see what I did well in order to repeat it tomorrow. It’ll be a very mental game, and I want to start preparing tonight.

“I hope that Novak plays at a great level, his A-game. We’re in the semis of the ATP Finals, a tournament he has won six times. He knows what it is to play in these rounds at events like this. I think that he’ll use that experience tomorrow and he’ll play his best tennis. He’ll try to pressure me a lot in the match, basically, he’ll be true to his style. So we’re going to have to be ready for that.”

I wouldn’t say either player has looked their best this week. Djokovic seems to be going through the motions at times — again, he’s already got No. 1 — but he’s proven through the years he excels at the end of the year just as much as he does at the start (see Melbourne). And Novak’s not bad in between!

I think if Alcaraz gets in his zone he can win. I think he’ll attack the Djokovic second serve but if he’s missing a lot of returns he’ll be in trouble. And I don’t think the consistency is there for Carlos. Still, he keeps it close like he often does and this goes down to the wire.
The Pick: Djokovic in 3

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10 Comments for Djokovic v Alcaraz, Sinner v Medvedev SFs At ATP Finals, Who’s The Pick?

Dave Says:

Djokovic admitted that Sinner played more courageous tennis than him in the important moments. This is reminding me of 2019 and 2020 against Thiem at the ATP Finals. Djokovic was way up in both tiebreaks and basically Waited for Thiem to miss. Thiem played the more courageous tennis and won both matches. Both times at the end of his wins Against Alcaraz he depended on Alcaraz misses and Alcaraz collapsing physically. This is also reminding me of Wimbledon where no one expected Alcaraz to adapt so fast on grass and actually beat Djokovic in his first Wimbledon final. This feels the same. I didn’t expect Alcaraz to adapt to a court that really doesn’t suit his game so fast. Alcaraz wasn’t missing when Medvedev needed him to miss yesterday. And if he plays the same way against Djokovic he will win. Alcaraz in 3.

Wog Boy Says:

How are we doing Alcaraz “fans”.

Wog Boy Says:

This match was worth 800 points, possibly 1300 points.
If Spaniard won Cincinnati final and this one he would be #1 today.

zed Says:

I think Nole is now mathematically assured of at least 409 weeks at #1.

He’s not far from literally doubling Rafa’s weeks at Number #1. I’ll say that again, DOUBLING!

How can anyone honestly claim that Nadal was the greater player?

Wog Boy Says:

Since Nole became #1, after Wimbledon 2011, he has positive h2h with every single top 10 player since then, but one and that one would be positive if not for stupid ATP decision to count RL Cup matches as official, he is 1:1 with Auger Aliassime!

Dave Says:

That’s literally one of the best performances I’ve ever seen by Nole. I’ll give it top 5 ever from him. Comparable to Doha against Nadal. But Alcaraz played better than Nadal in this match.

Wog Boy Says:

Dave, agree, but if you go on that Rafa site you will read that Spaniard was playing crap, even his first serve percentage was 84% and yet he couldn’t do a thing against Nole, as Gisele would say, he was taken to the cleaners.

There is something off with Spaniard that made me dislike him from the day he broke through (I know I am going against few Nole fans), nothing personal.

I said it before, his game had and has lot of trickery, he was lucky to use the time where big 3 were basically absent to brake through for difference of previous generations that had to fight through 3 of the best players ever in every single tournament. He is becoming too predictable and top players with high tennis IQ are reading his game, he is also too physical (look at his right arm, Like Nadal’s left in his high days).

By saying all of this, he is going to win many more slams but I don’t think he is going to be as dominant as predicted as recently as his Wimbledon win, I still bet on my second favourite, Sinner.

Wog Boy Says:

….and I’ll put Rune with Boris in the mix, they are my next big 3 (there is no big 4, never was, it was media bit up) similar age, all three ruthless, Boris will do miracles with Rune…but go Sinner😁

chrisford1 Says:

Andy was in the mix 2008-2017. 10 years of consistent, quality high level tennis. Then injury ended his time at the top. But not before 2 gold medals, over half a year as #1, Davis Title, ATP Championship, 14 Masters and 3 Slams with 8 RUPs.

Then injury and too many people discounting him as a once-formidable player for the last 6 years. He needs to pack it in. He was called Big 4 because no other player was close to Andy in ability to fight the Big 3 for years and years as a peer or near-peer.

For 10 years, no one was close to the consistent, excellent play of the Big 4.

Wog Boy Says:

Respectfully disagree, saying bog 4 is putting Andy in the same league with other 3 and he is not in their league, he is ahead of the rest of the pack but not in the same league with other 3.
It doesn’t matter how close he was fivhting the, it matters how consistent he was in beating them and winning the titles, while the other thre were winning 1 or more GSs on yearly basis Andy was winning one every few years, while they were rotating on #1 position for almost 20 years and finishing year as #1 exclusively between themselves, Andy managed to do it once, he was 30 when he was injured, if he didn’t manage to establish himself as equal by then he wouldn’t do after the age of 30.
The best they can say is 3+1 bit not big 4.

Top story: Alcaraz Dominates Djokovic For 2nd Wimbledon Title, 4th Grand Slam