WATCH: Taylor Fritz's win over Rafael Nadal sends a shockwave through the Green Group at the 2022 ATP Finals.

Rafael Nadal vs. Felix Auger-Aliassime

Tuesday’s afternoon ticket-holders should feel good about their choice of session: Marquee matchups like this one are usually reserved for the evening. Not only will fans have a chance to see a star of Nadal’s magnitude, they’ll also be watching two players who are desperate for a win, and who produced a classic in their last meeting, at Roland Garros in June.

On Sunday, Nadal and Auger-Aliassime each came out on the losing end, in straight sets, in their opening matches. Auger-Aliassime, after a late-season run of invincibility, looked a little tight in his ATP Finals debut against Casper Ruud. Nadal, who has played just one singles match since the US Open, couldn’t shake off the rust or catch up to the pace of Taylor Fritz’s lasers on Turin’s slick indoor surface.

Who will bounce back more quickly? Auger-Aliassime is surely closer to his best than Nadal at the moment. He should also be happy to have a chance to play on a court that suits him rather than Rafa. Both of their previous meetings were on clay, and not surprisingly, Nadal came away the winner both times. FAA’s serve has been unbreakable at times this fall, and it could be against Rafa, who was unable to muster a single break chance against Fritz.

Finally, there’s the Uncle Toni effect. Toni Nadal is Rafa’s uncle and one of Auger-Aliassime’s coaches. On Sunday he sat in both players’ boxes, but he says he’ll sit in FAA’s on Tuesday. Wherever Toni parks himself, Auger-Aliassime will surely benefit from his inside information about his nephew; nobody knows Rafa’s game like Toni. FAA nearly beat Nadal at Rafa’s favorite major tournament, in Paris, this spring; he should be able to finish the job at Rafa’s least favorite big event on Tuesday. Winner: Auger-Aliassime


UPDATE—Felix Auger-Aliassime defeats Rafael Nadal, 6-3, 6-4:


Casper Ruud vs. Taylor Fritz

It isn’t often that you get a first-ever meeting between two players at the ATP Finals. Making it here requires playing and winning a lot of matches over the course of a season, and it usually requires a few years of paying your dues on tour to put yourself in a position to qualify. Ruud, 23, and Fritz, 25, have paid those dues, but they’ve never crossed paths on a singles court until now.

That fact adds a measure of intrigue to this night-session contest. How will Fritz’s power serving and flat hitting match up against Ruud’s forehand-based, topspin-heavy attack?

The first variable to consider is the fast indoor surface. Fritz sang its praises after his win over Nadal, telling reporters that the court adds a little oomph to his backhand in particular. That helped him keep Rafa at bay, and it may help him either (a) get the ball into Ruud’s less-dangerous backhand more often, and (b) drill it down the line and into the space that Ruud will likely leave open on his forehand side. We know the surface will help Fritz’s serve.

As for Ruud, he has obviously had successes on hard courts; he was runner up at the US Open and in Miami, and he reached the semifinals in Turin a year ago. But he’s still more fundamentally a dirt-baller. Fritz, on the other hand, will be in his element. Winner: Fritz

How will Fritz’s power serving and flat hitting match up against Ruud’s forehand-based, topspin-heavy attack?

How will Fritz’s power serving and flat hitting match up against Ruud’s forehand-based, topspin-heavy attack?