The final day of the ATP finals round-robin format is here. With a spot in the semifinals on the line, which player should you wager on to make a winning ATP pick?
Novak Djokovic vs. Cameron Norrie
Friday, November 19, 2021 – 03:00 PM EST at Centre Court
Cameron Norrie is the number one player in Great Britain. Norrie jumped into the tournament after an injury forced Stefanos Tsitsipas to withdraw. On short notice, Norrie stepped in and played a tough match against Casper Ruud. Norrie came out on fire, winning the first set 6-1, but eventually fell as Ruud was able to take the second and third sets 6-3, 6-4.
Djokovic was asked about playing Norrie with his alternate status. Djokovic said, "I always liked playing new players, particularly at one of the greatest tournaments in the world here in Turin. Cameron deserves to be here, I mean obviously the second alternate, but still it's not undeserved."
It was heartening to see Djokovic come to Norrie's defense from attacks from tennis fans who felt that it was "lucky" or "his spot was undeserving." I agree with Djokovic. Norrie deserves a spot and fans from Great Britain have to be excited for him to have an opportunity to play against the world number one.
Norrie fought valiantly in his loss to Ruud and even saved three match points before falling. Regardless of the results, it is safe to say that Norrie's experience here will serve him well as he embarks upon the 2022 season.
Norrie is a left-handed player who prefers a defensive style. He is strong on return and relies on tactics more than power. He does not possess the overwhelming power of some of his ATP counterparts, but he can put away points once he has created an advantage.
Djokovic will once again rely on his elite return of serve to put pressure on his opponent. On a quick surface where one break can seal the set, Djokovic's constant return pressure ultimately wears opponents down. When every hold seems like a mountain to climb, Djokovic can defeat his opponents physically and mentally.
Novak Djokovic advanced to the semifinals with a 6-3, 6-2 win over Andrey Rublev on Wednesday. Rublev was playing quite well so Djokovic’s workmanlike win had to have the rest of the field take notice. This is not a tired, worn-down Djokovic that players have faced in the ATP Finals in previous years. This Djokovic is fresh and at the top of his game.
Even though Djokovic doesn’t need the victory, I expect him to give it his all and win in a routine fashion. His performance against Rublev shows he is not here to mess around or play his way into form. Djokovic has been aggressive right out of the gate and I believe we will see that here. For your best bets, lay the -5 games.
Casper Ruud vs. Andrey Rublev
Friday, November 19, 2021 - 08:00 AM EST at Centre Court
With Novak Djokovic advancing, and Cam Norrie being eliminated, the match between Casper Ruud and Andrey Rublev will determine the second semifinal out of the green group. Rublev owns a straight-set victory over Stefanos Tsitsipas and a straight-set loss to Novak Djokovic. Ruud lost in straight sets to Novak Djokovic and won a three-set match against Cameron Norrie. All these results set up one thing... a winner-take-all match in the final match of the round-robin format.
Andrey Rublev was soundly defeated by Novak Djokovic, but Djokovic was at the very top of his game. It is hard to downgrade Rublev from this performance, due to the elite level that Novak showed in getting the win. While Rublev is obviously disappointed, he has a chance to bounce back with a win over Ruud.
Ruud's victory over Norrie exemplified Ruud's fighting spirit. Ruud managed to prevail after summarily losing the first set. Faced with the pressure of being down on the scoreboard, Ruud raised his level of play. Ruud's victory shows that you can never count the Norwegian out.
Rublev’s power should overwhelm the Norwegian. Rublev’s powerful groundstrokes should allow him to put pressure on Ruud’s service games. I believe Rublev will be able to hold serve much easier and be able to break Ruud as the match progresses.
Ruud’s heavy topspin isn’t as effective on the quick indoor hard court in Turin. Even off a match where he was soundly defeated by Djokovic, I think Rublev bounces back here against Ruud to set up a semifinal rematch against Djokovic. My ATP pick is Andrey Rublev -2.5 games.
Tennis Pick: Andrey Rublev -2.5 (-116) with BookMaker
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