Djokovic Near Perfect In Win Over Alcaraz, Gets Sinner Rematch At ATP Finals, Who’s The Pick?

by Sean Randall | November 19th, 2023, 12:30 am

While there wasn’t much drama this semifinal Saturday at the ATP Finals in Turin, the tennis was darn good and darn fun.

Jannik Sinner began the day by taking care of Daniil Medvedev for a third straight time this fall 6-3, 6-7(4), 6-1.

Medvedev was ultra-aggressive as he needed to be, staying closer to the baseline on the quick court and matching Sinner’s power. He played a brilliant breaker in the second but got the crowd involved early in the third and Sinner, paced by his laser of a backhand, ran away from the Russian to win his fourth match of the week. It was great stuff from Sinner who showcased a little more variety today to go along with the raw voltage.

“Incredible feeling,” Sinner said after making the biggest final of his career. “It was a really tough match today. I felt that he was playing more aggressively, especially in the first set. Somehow I made the break and from that point I felt better. The second set was really tight but then he played a very good tiebreak. In the third set I just tried to stay a bit more aggressive and mixing up my game a little bit. I am happy to be in the final.”

I said yesterday, the win over Holger Rune may come back to bite Sinner on Sunday. That win put Novak Djokovic in the semifinals, and now Sinner will have to beat the Serb for second time this week — something that no one has ever done before.

Djokovic followed and looked absolutely amazing in a 6-3, 6-2 win over Carlos Alcaraz.

Djokovic weathered early break chances for the Spaniard and then leveled-up and leveled-up some more. Early in the second, Alcaraz threw everything he could at Djokovic and the Serb answered with some of the best shots you will ever see.

No surprise, Djokovic was thrilled with his performance.

“One of the best matches of the year in these circumstances playing probably the biggest rival I had this year, Carlos. We had some epic matches. Actually, all three matches we played this year were marathon matches that went the distance,” Djokovic said. “I think everyone expected, including probably both of us, that we were going to have a long night, a big fight, a long match.

“I just managed to I guess step it up. When I broke his serve at 4-3 in the first set, played a really flawless match until the end of the match. Played great tennis, high level, put a lot of pressure on his service games, made him play. I served really well when I needed to.”

Alcaraz started off well in both sets, but simply couldn’t hold the line. There were just no openings. No comfort. Djokovic had the offense and defense in sync.

“He plays the same level during the whole match. The shot quality he has is unbelievable,” Alcaraz said. “He plays really, really deep. It’s really difficult to take advantage from that. Once again, he has shown why he’s the best player in the world.

“It’s not about just serving against him. He has a great return game,” he said. “Unbelievable, I’m going to say. As I said, he push you to a limit in every ball, every shot.”

Djokovic has now won 21 of his last 22 matches, but that lone loss was the Sinner. Though that was in a final set breaker.

Novak Djokovic v Jannik Sinner
Winning that match against Rune will probably cost Sinner this title. I feel like he would have defeated Alcaraz today and then I think Medvedev beats Rune to make the final. And, like today, Sinner should beat Medvedev.

But with Djokovic in the title match and with the Serb out for revenge for that round-robin defeat, can Sinner really beat the guy twice in six days?

Sinner is going to have the pressure. Novak might be the betting favorite, but Sinner just beat him, he’s got the crowd, the motivation and is undefeated this week. And he had that chance to eliminate him Thursday. That’s got to be bouncing around between the ears.

“It is a privilege to have this kind of pressure,” Sinner added. “Even the week before this event I felt really good on this court. It is quite fast. The crowd has given me so much energy.”

Djokovic has No. 1 and the title will put him alone and ahead of Roger Federer for most ATP Finals titles.

Sinner is obviously playing better than Alcaraz, but weirdly I think Sinner would have a better chance had he lost to Djokovic on Tuesday and came back Sunday. I just don’t see how he does it twice and does it this time in the moment of his life. And not with the way Djokovic looked today.

“Couldn’t be coming at a better time for me, considering that I maybe wasn’t playing my best tennis in the first three group stages, matches of the group stages,” Djokovic added. “But tonight I played close to my very, very best.”

Djokovic had won all three meetings coming into the week. Sinner played well on Tuesday while I don’t feel like Djokovic was at his best, especially on his second serve. Today he was, so if Novak plays like he did today, he wins.
The Pick: Djokovic in 3

Regardless of outcome, Djokovic will be the favorite to win the first Slam of 2024 in Australia. If Sinner wins again, maybe he becomes the second favorite, maybe next year will be the year of Sinner. First things first, though, it’s Djokovic tomorrow in the biggest match of his career.

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Novak Djokovic v Carlos Alcaraz For The Wimbledon Title, Who’s The Pick?
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4 Comments for Djokovic Near Perfect In Win Over Alcaraz, Gets Sinner Rematch At ATP Finals, Who’s The Pick?

TennisSweater Says:

Here’s a prediction: Nick will have a long career behind the microphone. He’s excellent and he’s just beginning to learn the craft. His insights are thoughtful, authentic, and wll articulated. His scope could expand, the camera is his friend, he projects well and he’s got a great sense of humor. He’s not full of himself, he’s self depreciating and funny with it.

tennismonger Says:

Has Nick officially retired? If so, I totally missed it.

Not that the writing isn’t on the wall, so to speak…

TennisSweater Says:

He’s recuperating from a procedure. Believe it was knee. Someone recognized his potential behind the microphone. Im guessing this was an audition for when he does retire.

chrisford1 Says:

Have to agree. I saw a couple podcasts when Covid was afflicting players ability to play so they did stuff like podcasts, playing music, etc.
Kyrios is often hilarious. Insightful and does memorable sledges.

Another bright guy that has done very well as an all sports broadcaster, not just tennis – is Andy Roddick. Though I bet in Australia, a smaller country, you have broadcasters expected to cover multiple sports and often cultural stuff these days. Not even all woke stuff…just expected to be “broader” than the old racing beat reporter that spent his life informing readers on the horses…
Rodick was a multisport athlete and relates to most athletes well. Kyrgios likes other sports, hangs with some of those other sports stars.

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