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Thursday, 14 November 2019

ATP World Tour Finals Tennis Day 5 Picks 2019 (November 14th)

The second Semi Finalist was officially confirmed on Wednesday at the O2 Arena as Stefanos Tsitsipas pulled away from Alexander Zverev in what was eventually a one-sided Group match. The straight sets win means Tsitsipas has won both matches this week with a 4-0 set advantage and that means he has moved through and most likely as the Group Winner too.

Some of the permutations can be a little hard to understand at this point, but the Greek player has enjoyed plenty of support in London and guaranteeing a Semi Final spot is what he would have hoped to achieve at the start of the tournament.

He faces Rafael Nadal in the final Group match on Friday and the Spaniard has given himself every chance of making it through to the Semi Final and moving a step closer to securing his end of year World Number 1 Ranking. Rafael Nadal was the first to admit he had gotten lucky in his win over Daniil Medvedev considering the Russian had two break points to move to 5-0 in the final set decider and also another which doubled up as a match point when leading 5-1.

It has been a fabulous year for Medvedev, but he has not been at his best this week and he will be counting his fortunes that elimination has yet to be confirmed. He is going to need things to break his way, but the main focus has to be in beating Alexander Zverev in straight sets and then hoping rival Tsitsipas can do himself a favour by beating Nadal in the other Semi Final.

Those matches are for Friday, but first we complete the other Group with two more matches to come on Thursday. One of those is a 'dead rubber', but the other is a big match between Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer with the winner staying on in London and the losing player having some time off before preparing for the 2020 season.

Dominic Thiem- Matteo Berrettini over 22.5 games: Over the course of the Tennis season there really aren't many times when players will take to the court knowing nothing can be determined on the day. The way the Tour works means winners stay on and losers go home from any tournament being played, but the ATP World Tour Finals is a touch different with the Group Stage opening the tournament.

This match is the deadest of 'dead rubbers' on Thursday as Matteo Berrettini and Dominic Thiem meet in the early match on the day. The former has lost both matches and has been eliminated, while the latter has won both matches and has already secured a Semi Final spot as Group Winner after beating both Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer earlier this week.

At this moment you would think the higher motivation is with Dominic Thiem who will be looking for a third win and keeping the momentum behind him ahead of the Semi Final to come on Saturday. The layers feel the same with Thiem priced up as a pretty big favourite, but Matteo Berrettini comes into the match with nothing to lose as he can put everything on the line knowing he is set to have a two month break from the Tour.

Much is going to depend on what kind of serving day the Italian brings to the court on Thursday- if he is at the level he was against Roger Federer he will make this a competitive match, but if Berrettini slips off that towards the level shown against Novak Djokovic he could be comfortably beaten on the day.

It is all down to the fact that Berrettini does not have the most effective return on the Tour and that puts him in a position where he is heavily reliant on the performance of his own serve. Throughout 2019 we have seen Berrettini have a lot more good days than bad when it comes to that side of his game and the two matches between these players in the last few weeks have been highly competitive too.

Both have a win apiece, and the numbers have been similar with 80% of service games being held by both players. The slight edge has to be given to Dominic Thiem in terms of the amount of break points he has created in those two hard court matches, while he is also edging the percentage of points won behind serve compared with Matteo Berrettini.

The difficulty in assessing this match is the fact that nothing much is on the line for either player. In particular I would wonder if Thiem has much appetite for a fight if he falls a set behind knowing his Semi Final is coming up, although the same could be said of Berrettini who will perhaps start thinking ahead to holiday plans if he is to fall behind.

Both players have very strong serves though and that might be the way to go with this match- the two matches played in Shanghai and Vienna have been highly competitive and I would not be surprised if we see a close match here too. If the two players continue serving and returning as they have been I have to give a narrow edge to Dominic Thiem, but I can see Matteo Berrettini putting a few runs together behind his own serve which can help this match surpass the total games line.

It might have been a couple of games higher if both players needed to win, but I think the layers have knocked off a couple off the total with the feeling that there could be a runaway winner in the second set. I think the day of rest between the Semi Final and this match should keep Dominic Thiem focused and I don't believe Matteo Berrettini will want to go out without at least taking a set and so backing the total games line to be surpassed is the play.

Novak Djokovic - 3.5 games v Roger Federer: Most would have expected both Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic to comfortably work their way through to the ATP World Tour Finals Semi Final matches this weekend, but no one accounted for Dominic Thiem. The Austrian has beaten both of the 'Big Three' members in this Group and made things very simple for Thursday evening at the O2 Arena.

Winner stays on, loser goes home.

Both Djokovic and Federer have been fairly comfortable winners when facing Matteo Berrettini as the debutant has struggled to impose himself, but coming up short against Thiem means this is effectively a Quarter Final match. Both should be highly motivated to place a marker down which can see them have some momentum ahead of the Australian Open, which is only a couple of months away, while the rivalry has always been a tense one.

The real edge whenever these two meet is on the return of serve, but it should also be noted that Federer has a much more effective serve too. Novak Djokovic can get a good read on that shot, but his own serve is more vulnerable and I am not surprised that so many matches between these players can be as competitive as they have been.

Things have definitely turned in favour of the Serb over the last decade and he has won three of their last four at the Tour Finals at the O2 Arena too. Novak Djokovic has won four in a row on the hard courts against Roger Federer and all of those have been fairly comfortable wins for the World Number 1 and his superiority on the return of serve has been evident in those matches.

We know Roger Federer can be more aggressive of the two players, but against a defensively strong Novak Djokovic that can also lead to more mistakes. In their last five meetings on the hard courts, Novak Djokovic has improved his percentage of games held to 89% compared with his 80% career total on the hard courts against Federer and that includes a defeat on this court which was later avenged in the same tournament.

In the last four matches Novak Djokovic has faced nine total break points against Roger Federer, but he has created at least six in each of those matches and at least nine in three out of four. That underlines the dominance on the return of serve even if Roger Federer has proven to be a stubborn nut to crack at those key points within matches.

One concern has to be the fact that Djokovic has yet to save a break point this week and that could be crucial in determining the outcome of this one. I still think he can limit the damage done to his own serve which should be the key factor here and I am going to look for Novak Djokovic to maintain his push for end of year World Number 1 with a good looking win over Roger Federer after an entertaining battle inside the O2 Arena on Thursday evening.

MY PICKS: Dominic Thiem-Matteo Berrettini Over 22.5 Games @ 2.00 Bet365 (2 Units)
Novak Djokovic - 3.5 Games @ 1.91 Bet Fred (2 Units)

ATP Finals Update: 4-4, - 1.38 Units (16 Units Staked, - 8.63% Yield)

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