ATP China Open final preview: Medvedev vs. Sinner

(Photo by Yanshan Zhang/Getty Images)
(Photo by Yanshan Zhang/Getty Images) /

For whatever reason, Carlos Alcaraz has not been the dominant force he was prior to winning Wimbledon in July. I don’t mean to say he’s been bad because he hasn’t, but he does seem to be regressing closer to the field. I don’t mean to say that to take anything away from Jannik Sinner’s victory over Alcaraz in the semifinals at the China Open, only to note maybe Alcaraz isn’t quite as ready to take over tennis as we thought.

Or maybe Jannik Sinner is just getting better to the point where his peak play is closer to Alcaraz’s peak. If that is the case then that is great for the sport of tennis. Alcaraz needs a long-term rival and that might be Sinner. After defeating Alcaraz, Sinner now leads the all-time head-to-head over the Spaniard 4-3, including winning the last two matches.

The problem for Sinner is that he will face Daniil Medvedev in the finals of the China Open. The Russian isn’t only one of the best players on hard courts on the ATP tour, he owns the Italian. In six head-to-head meetings, Sinner has never won. Sinner has at least won three sets against Medvedev so it’s not like Sinner can’t compete against the Russian.

Preview and prediction for the China Open men’s final

Oddly, Medvedev and Sinner have played five times on indoor hard courts, and just one on an outdoor court. In the semis at the China Open, the roof was closed and that made the court faster, according to Medvedev. If that happens in the finals, Medvedev will have the edge.

The Russian has the much better and more consistent serve than the Italian, but Sinner might have the better, and more crisp, groundstrokes. If the match gets into long rallies, Sinner could have a better chance. Otherwise, Medvedev might just serve him off the court.

Medvedev will also be going for a career-high sixth title in a calendar year. He is cemented as the number 3 player on the ATP, while Sinner will move up to number 4 when the rankings come out next week. But because this is on a hard court and Medvedev knows he’s never lost to Sinner, I think Medvedev will take the China Open title in three sets.

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