The semifinals of the ATP finals in Turin are finally here. Four men remain in the field of the elite.
Which top player should you wager on to make a winning ATP pick? Let’s take a look
Novak Djokovic vs. Alexander Zverev
Saturday, November 20, 2021 – 03:00 PM EST at Pala Alpitour (Center Court)
Novak Djokovic and Alexander Zverev have had several big meetings this season. First, at the Australian Open, they met in the quarterfinals where Novak won 6-7, 6-2, 6-4, 7-6. Novak, of course, would go on to win the Australian Open, the first of his three major tournament victories this season.
Zverev gained a modicum of revenge when he was able to oust Djokovic from the Olympics in Tokyo 1-6, 6-3, 6-1. This was the first loss that Djokovic suffered in the 2021 season on hard courts. This ended Novak’s dream of a Golden Slam.
Novak bounced back against Zverev, however, and defeated him in their next meeting at the US Open. Zverev pushed Novak to five sets in the semifinals, but the Serbian ultimately prevailed 4-6, 6-2, 6-4, 4-6, 6-2. The slower hard courts in Flushing Meadows were conducive to breaks of serve. That will not be the case in their match today in Turin.
These players know each other quite well as they have played 12 times in their careers with Novak leading in the head-to-head 8-4. Their multiple meetings have shown Djokovic one thing; Alexander Zverev is not an opponent to be taken lightly.
Djokovic is aware of this. When asked about his most recent win over Cam Norrie and playing Zverev in the semifinal today, Djokovic responded, "I played well tonight from the first to the last point. That’s definitely encouraging for the next match tomorrow, which will be tougher." Djokovic is quite aware of the challenge that Alexander Zverev will represent.
Alexander Zverev is a player with a bright future. He is number three in the world at the age of 24. Zverev has already won five ATP Masters 1000 titles. He is the only active player outside the “Big 4” with that many titles. He won this tournament, the ATP Tour Finals in 2018, and this summer he added Olympic gold to his already impressive resume.
Zverev has all the tools to be an elite player. He is tall enough to bomb big first serves, quick enough to play good defense, and has lateral movement that is usually not found in a man of his size. Zverev can be dominant using his groundstrokes.
Yet can also be passive using his groundstrokes as well. Zverev needs to be aggressive in this match because he cannot win a defensive battle with the best defensive player on tour. When Zverev is on the attack and confident, he’s capable of beating anyone in the world.
Zverev is also expecting a complicated match. When asked about it he remarked, “I’m looking forward to it,” Zverev said. “It’s always interesting and close when we play each other, so I’m expecting another tough one… There will be a lot of long rallies, we will run a lot more and suffer, in a way, a lot more as well. I think every single match we have played has been close. We needed to be at our best and one or two points decided the matches. I expect no different here as well.”
These players are quite familiar with each other’s strengths and weaknesses and tactics. There will be no surprises in this one. The result will depend on execution. This is where Djokovic has a decided advantage. Djokovic can be counted on to give 100% effort with 100% self-belief. Djokovic knows what it takes to come through in pressure situations and will not let the moment get to him. Djokovic will not ease up or become passive.
He will not be overcome by nerves on a big point. Physically these players are equal, yet Djokovic has the mental edge.
Despite Djokovic having obvious advantages, I do like Alexander Zverev to keep this match close. Zverev’s big serve will play well in the fast court conditions.
I expect to see a tiebreak, unlike their most recent meeting in New York. Zverev will be Novak’s toughest match of the tournament so far, and Zverev is playing with house money. Zverev has nothing to lose! All the pressure and expectation is on Novak to win this event.
With Zverev’s strong groundstrokes and powerful serve, I expect him to keep it close and cover the game spread of +3.5. Plus, with the current ATP odds, I’d be crazy not to!
*The line and/or odds on picks in this article might have moved since the content was commissioned. For updated line movements, visit BMR’s free betting odds product.