After two blockbuster semifinals at the ATP Nitto Finals, Daniil Medvedev will square off against arch-rival Dominic Thiem in the final. It will be Thiem’s second consecutive final at the season-ending championships, having lost to Stefanos Tsitsipas in the final a year before. Medvedev has reached his first final at the ATP Nitto Finals and is riding on a nine-match winning streak.
After squandering four match points in the second set, Thiem found himself 0-4 down in the third set tiebreaker. World No.1 Novak Djokovic was just three points away from reaching his 8th final and landed all his first serves inside to fancy his chances. At that crucial juncture, Thiem played his finest tennis by winning six successive points to close the match in almost three hours.
On the other side, Medvedev served impeccably well against the 20-time Grand Slam champion, Rafael Nadal. Despite winning the opening set and serving for the match at 5-4 in the second set, Nadal could not sustain Medvedev’s onslaught.
The Russian hammered 13 aces during the semifinal clash and broke Nadal twice in the deciding set to continue his unbeaten streak at the ATP Nitto Finals.
The duo has played four times against each other, with Thiem leading 3-1 in the rivalry. They last locked horns at the semifinals of the 2020 US Open, where Thiem butchered Medvedev in straight sets. The lone victory of Medvedev came at the 2019 Canadian Masters.
Interestingly, both players have beaten Nadal and Djokovic en route to the final. But Thiem has a slight edge over Medvedev, considering he has been hitting blistering backhand winners from angles. The Austrian has to maintain the high intensity and find the range on his forehand returns.
For Medvedev, firing a high percentage of first-serve inside will be the key to unsettle Thiem. However, the World No.4 has to improve his second serve, which will inevitably be attacked by Thiem. Moreover, Medvedev will have to notch up his defensive game; otherwise, Thiem will overpower him with his strong groundstrokes.
It’s going to be a high-voltage showdown, but Thiem is likely to sail through. Nonetheless, we’ll have a first time champion for the fifth time in a row.
Prediction: Dominic Thiem to win in three sets.