Nitto ATP Finals (Turin) – Day 1 & 2

Green Group – day 2
Andrey Rublev d. Stefanos Tsitsipas    6-4, 6-4    [1:31 h]
Last year they created the most dramatic match at the ’round robin’ stage (the Greek won 6-1, 4-6, 7-6), this time it was pretty one-sided meeting. Tsitsipas held the opening game after 10 minutes, Rublev already showed a good form in it, hitting the ground-strokes with more conviction. The Russian got his breaks at 2-all in both sets, and went through the match not facing a break point. He converted his first match point with a lucky net-cord winner. “I think these are the moments that we are practising for, that we are living for: to be here and to enjoy this atmosphere, to play great tennis and for the spectators to enjoy,” Rublev said in an on-court interview. “[All] I could do my best today, I did and I’m really happy.” Tsitsipas has lost 4 out of his last 5 matches, bad ratio for a guy who was No. 3 in the world this tear.
Points won directly behind the serve: Rublev 19/60 (31%), Tsitsipas 25/75 (33%)… Total points: 72-63
Novak Djokovic d. Casper Ruud    7-6(4), 6-2    [1:30 h]
Among all possible ’round robin’ matches, this match up had the least chance to go the distance, in my opinion. Ruud was a bit lucky in the opening game because when he created a break point, Djokovic stumbled having an initiative, and it certainly helped the Norwegian to get a 3:1* lead. At 4:5 Ruud withstood two set points, but he rarely wins SP-down sets, so even when he led 3:2 in the tie-break on serve, he was still “far away” from taking the set. In the 2nd set the Serb found his rhythm, he was playing looser as a receiver, increased the speed of his 1st serves and there was no equal play, basically. Ruud, who has the weakest serve among all ‘Masters’ participants this year, once delivered 3 aces in a row, then 2 in a row – it confirms – along with Djokovic’s staggering service efficiency – my yesterday’s observation that the surface is very fast. Djokovic said: “The conditions here are quite tough. If you lose your serve, it is difficult to get it back.”
Points won directly behind the serve: Djokovic 28/53 (52%), Ruud 15/69 (21%)… Total points: 72-50
Red Group – day 1
Alexander Zverev d. Matteo Berrettini    7-6(7), 1-0 ret.    [1:41 h]
Zverev was a better player overall before the tie-break, but the local-matador Berrettini could have stolen it anyway. The Italian had saved break points in three different games and put himself in a 6:5* (30/0) position having no chance in Zverev’s preceding five service games. There were two set points in that game, Berrettini missed two returns off his backhand, the first one must have been painful because Zverev delivered a conservative second serve – Berrettini decided to jump and lost his balance. In the tie-break he led *5:3 when missed his powerful forehand. Zverev needed three set points – on his third he played very long return towards Berrettini’s feet. The long set lasted 79 minutes, the Italian took a 5-minute toilet break afterwards. He physically seemed ok, but when he netted his forehand in the 2nd game to make its third deuce, he covered his face in the hands, it was a gesture of despair. He took a medical time-out (excruciating pain on the left side of his torso) but in vain. The first point after the break confirmed that he was unable to continue and retired in tears. “I thought the first set was incredibly high-level tennis. This is all not important,” Zverev said. “The most important thing is that both players at the end of the match can shake hands and are healthy.”
Points won directly behind the serve: Zverev 23/54 (42%), Berrettini 23/69 (33%)… Total points: 66-57 (56-51 first set)
Daniil Medvedev d. Hubert Hurkacz    6-7(5), 6-3, 6-4    [2:01 h]
A new chapter in the ‘Masters’ history. After twelve editions at the London 02 arena, the players moved to the Pala Alpitour in Turin – smaller venue than the one in London, but the colours on the court and around it has been preserved. The first match gave me an impression that the court in Italy is much faster than in England. Medvedev and Hurkacz faced each other this year at Wimbledon, I watched it in full, and I think the rallies were considerably longer there… Actually two poor service games of Hurkacz at the beginning of sets 2 and 3 separated them in Turin. The defending champion wasn’t forced to face a break point, the closest he was at 4:5 (15/30) in the opener, in the 2nd set there were two ‘deuce’ games on his serve. The Pole said: “It’s quite fast here. Daniil was serving great, I was serving decent apart from two games, it’s quite quick here.”
Points won directly behind the serve: Medvedev 37/89 (41%), Hurkacz 36/88 (40%)… Total points: 96-81
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