TENNIS: Ahead of a busy day of tennis, we preview the pick of the group stage matches at the Nitto ATP Finals in Turin and a hard-to-predict clash at the Champaign Challenger.
Stefanos Tsitsipas v Andrey Rublev – Nitto ATP Finals, 8pm
Clashing for the third time of 2022, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Andrey Rublev have been worthy adversaries to each other and formed a rivalry that has been entertaining to watch. Until the start of the year, the head-to-head scores were even, with both men sharing the spoils and taking four wins each.
It has changed in the new year, however, with Tsitsipas steaming ahead of his Russian opponent, winning the last two matches and putting the overall score to 6-4 in his favour. Looking at the ATP Tour rankings, it would be expected for Tsitsipas to have the edge over Rublev, as the Greek has climbed to third in the world, behind wonderkid and world number one Carlos Alcaraz and the great Rafael Nadal.
However, Rublev has been playing some magnificent tennis himself, too, occupying the seventh spot ahead of Novak Djokovic and many other world-class players.
Truthfully, it is a very high-quality matchup and a fixture that will likely showcase the very highest level of tennis. Both of these players can beat the world’s very best, with both players taking a victory over Daniil Medvedev at this tournament and both players doing well at Grand Slams this year.
Taking the advantage with his two victories over Rublev in 2022, Tsitsipas goes into the match as the favourite at 1.69 and will look to make it three out of three. Rublev is the underdog at 2.41, but his impressive run to the quarter-finals at the US Open in the summer might give him some confidence against the player that was knocked out in the first round.
Based on the form the two players have displayed at the tournament, it will be a very close tie though Tsitispas’ clever brand of tennis and ability to work an opening and execute a deft drop shot might be too much for his counterpart this time.
Aleksandar Kovacevic v Steve Johnson – ATP Champaign Challenger, 6.20pm
Very close to breaking into the world’s top 100, Steve Johnson faces a tough Aleksandar Kovaceciv in the Champaign Challenger quarter-final this afternoon in what, by all accounts, is set to be a very tight affair.
Not quite at 50/50, the BETDAQ win calculator has this tie 56% to 44% in favour of Kovacevic and looking at the results in this tournament so far, it is easy to see why. Both players came from a set down to win their round of 16 match, and both players are in good form and haven’t looked like losing in their opening two matches.
Comparing the two players play styles doesn’t help indicate a potential victor either, as both play an attacking brand and love to play on the front foot, so we can expect some big rallies and a match that will go the distance with a tiebreaker or two.
Kovacevic is the favourite in the tie at 1.78 and will take confidence from his greater hard-court win percentage of 56%. Johnson comes in close behind at 2.11 and is certainly the bet of greater value, with the two so hard to separate on paper.