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Saturday, 16 November 2019

ATP World Tour Finals Day 7 Tennis Picks 2019 (November 16th)

The Semi Final matches at the ATP World Tour Finals were set on Friday and it is sad that Rafael Nadal was not able to make it out of his Group despite the huge effort put into his come from behind win over Stefanos Tsitsipas.

Ultimately the Singles season came to an end for Nadal because Alexander Zverev was able to beat Daniil Medvedev in a very close match in the evening session, although the Spaniard did secure the End of Year Number 1 World Ranking. We will see more from Rafael Nadal next week as he is set to compete in the Davis Cup Final for Spain in Madrid with the good news being he looked stronger in each passing match in London.

The final four at the World Tour Finals have had an unexpected feel in recent seasons and it might surprise to read that someone like Rafael Nadal has never won this title but Grigor Dimitrov and Alexander Zverev have. The latter is the defending Champion here and will fancy his chances of beating Dominic Thiem in the second Semi Final, although most will believe Roger Federer is a worthy favourite having moved past Novak Djokovic to book his own Semi Final spot.

This is going to be an unsuccessful tournament for me in what has been a very good 2019, but I do want to at least put some winners on the board before things are said and done. I aim to go 3-0 over the weekend after a really poor 4-8 record during the Group Stage, although I do think I have had little luck behind me so far.

A game here or a point there and I would have had a winning record and the good news about it all is that the system I've been using for the last couple of years to produce winning seasons is still good to go. Things will really get going again in January when the new season begins, although I may have one or two selections from the Davis Cup in the coming days to round off the 2019 season.

Before that let's have a look at the ATP World Tour Finals Semi Final matches and my thoughts on how they could go.

Roger Federer - 3.5 games v Stefanos Tsitsipas: After losing his opening match at the O2 Arena last Sunday, Roger Federer has gotten stronger in his next two matches which have resulted in wins over Matteo Berrettini and Novak Djokovic. He has not dropped a set in either match and Federer was very impressive in beating Djokovic for the first time in four years having dominated the majority of the match.

Being in the Group that started play in this tournament means Roger Federer was resting and likely enjoying the battle Stefanos Tsitsipas was put through in his eventual three set defeat to Rafael Nadal. The youngster had already secured passage through to the Semi Final so spending three tough hours on the court and falling short to Nadal is going to need a lot of rest and recovery to be prepared to take on Federer in this Semi Final.

That match ended less than 24 hours before Tsitsipas is due back out on the court to take on Federer and I do think that could be a key factor in how this match ends up developing.

You do have to credit Stefanos Tsitsipas for the level he is producing so far in London with 94% of his service games resulting in a hold, but the limitations on the return of serve have been clear to see. It was more of the same against Nadal as Tsitsipas only won 25% of the points played on the Nadal serve and failed to generate a break point in the match.

It doesn't bode well for him when he takes on Roger Federer who has held 90% of the service games played, although it does have to be said that the former World Number 1 is hardly a dominant return player these days. The numbers are still a few ticks superior to the ones his opponent has been producing and I think it is important to note that Federer has had one more break of serve in each of his matches here compared to the one played before.

Stefanos Tsitsipas did beat Roger Federer at the Australian Open in four sets and he managed to stave off all 12 break points he faced that day. In two matches since then on the hard courts it is Federer who has won both and won all four sets by the same 6-4 score.

In those last two matches on the hard courts Roger Federer has managed to break in one of five return games played agains a very big serving Tsitsipas. His own serve has barely been threatened as Federer has avoided a break and only faced three break points across the pair of matches and I do think he is going to have too much in the tank for Tsitsipas here.

I really like the way Stefanos Tsitsipas plays so I think this could be a fun match to watch with some service games being run through by the two players. At some point the fatigue from having had a three hour match less than 24 hours has to catch up with the younger player and Federer's last couple of matches against Tsitsipas have resulted in fairly comfortable wins each time for the Swiss player as he has made a move within one service game and found the break he needs.

Something similar might happen in this one and I will look for Federer to cover the line set for the match in the first Semi Final.

Alexander Zverev v Dominic Thiem: Things had become very clear for Alexander Zverev going into his match with Daniil Medvedev on Friday evening as a win would take him through to the Semi Final while a defeat would have sent him home. The defending Champion put his best foot forward on the night and it was the second very strong serving display that gave him the edge to see off his opponent and Qualify in second place in the Group.

That is actually a benefit for Zverev as it means he will be playing in the evening session on Saturday, but more importantly avoids facing Roger Federer and instead meets Dominic Thiem.

This is the first year Thiem has gotten out of the Group Stage at the World Tour Finals and the Austrian has to be respected having earned wins over Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic in the tournament already. Motivation might not have been at the highest point in his loss to Matteo Berrettini on Thursday, but it will be interesting to see if Thiem can pick up his intensity having allowed it to drop as much as it did.

As well as Thiem has done to get through to the Semi Final it does have to be said that he has ridden his luck at times. Where Dominic Thiem has been clinical with the break points that have come his way, his opponents have perhaps given him a chance to wiggle off the hook at pressurised times and I don't think that is sustainable for the Austrian on the hard courts.

Dominic Thiem has held 84% of service games played this week which is considerably down on the 89% mark Alexander Zverev has in the tournament. The latter has not really produced the kind of returning you would associate with him though with only 13% of return games ending in a break of serve and Zverev has only generated a total of 3 break points in his last two matches.

His opponents mark is better, but I've already mentioned Thiem has needed to be clinical having taken 8/10 break points he has seen in this tournament. He has been broken a lot more times than anyone else in the event though and I think that is where Alexander Zverev can make hay and secure a win as an underdog in this second Semi Final.

These two players have surprisingly not met in 2019, but it is Dominic Thiem who has the superior head to head overall. His dominance is largely down to the clay court matches between the two and they are actually 1-1 in the two previous hard court matches played.

It is Alexander Zverev who has had the edge in service stats in those matches and over the course of the year the German has shown he is the slightly stronger hard court player than Dominic Thiem. The success on this court in 2018 will only help Zverev here and I will look for him to win this match as a narrow underdog on Saturday.

MY PICKS: Roger Federer - 3.5 Games @ 1.91 Bet365 (2 Units)
Alexander Zverev @ 2.20 Bet Fred (2 Units)

ATP Finals Update: 4-8, - 9.38 Units (24 Units Staked, - 39.08% Yield)

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