2021 Nitto ATP Finals Final Preview: Alexander Zverev vs Daniil Medvedev

Germany's Alexander Zverev shakes hands with Russia's Daniil Medvedev(Photo by GLYN KIRK/AFP via Getty Images)
Germany's Alexander Zverev shakes hands with Russia's Daniil Medvedev(Photo by GLYN KIRK/AFP via Getty Images) /

With a triumphant showing against Novak Djokovic in a thrilling three-set encounter, Alexander Zverev booked himself a spot in the final against Daniil Medvedev.

A warm exchange at the net with Djokovic was followed by a brief raising of hands, with a face that resembled both joy and relief. It was a rather muted celebration after a great victory, with Zverev perhaps realizing that the job is far from done, as he now faces off against familiar foe, world No.2 Daniil Medvedev.

Medvedev holds the upper hand in the pair’s head-to-head clashes, leading Zverev 6-5. Their 12th meeting comes only a few days after the Russian beat Zverev 6-3, 6-7, 7-6 in their Group stage match.

At this point, Medvedev seems to have the psychological edge over Zverev, having won the last 5 matches they’ve played. He’s also coming off a rather straightforward semi-final victory over Casper Ruud and has been on an unbeaten run of 9-0 in the ATP Finals since his 0-3 debut in 2019.

Zverev though would’ve gained a ton of confidence following his semi-final victory over the world No.1, as he attempts to break the Russian’s streak. Stylistically, there’s not a whole lot separating the two men. They’re both powerful baseliners, who’re solid off both wings, with the ability to effortlessly switch between defense and offense. Also, both men have a knack for clocking huge serves while being accurate with the placement and consistently hitting the right spots. Perhaps one of the more obvious differences is their court positioning while returning serve. Medvedev usually stays quite deep behind the baseline on the return of serve as compared to Zverev, who prefers staying a bit closer, although he’s by no means a line-hugger.

Ultimately, it may all boil down to who wants it more and holds his nerves better in the clutch moments. Zverev, in the past, has struggled to hold his serve under duress, but over time, he’s made great strides and closed the gap, with his serve being a lot more reliable, even under pressure.

It’s a blockbuster finale among two of the brightest talents of the new generation and a perfect way to cap off the ATP season. Although picking a winner here is almost impossible, an outcome that one can be almost certain of is that the match will be a three-setter. Here’s hoping for a thrilling contest that delivers on its on-paper promise.

Official Pick: Daniil Medvedev in three tight sets.

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