On Friday, Carlos Alcaraz will take on Daniil Medvedev at the Nitto ATP Finals. Medvedev has already booked his spot in the semifinals with straight-set wins over Andrey Rublev and Alexander Zverev. The match won't mean everything to him—but it will for Alcaraz, who can join Medvedev in the final four with a win. I already liked the Spaniard in this matchup, and considering the stakes involved, I’m playing Alcaraz to win outright.

Medvedev was able to beat Alcaraz at the US Open, but the Russian did that by digging in and grinding for every point. He's one of the fittest players on tour, is a world-class defender and he tracked down everything that Alcaraz threw at him. Will Medvedev he willing to do that here? A player like Medvedev would benefit from having a full tank in the semifinals, as he’ll need to play his high-level defense in order to have a shot at winning this event. I’m not suggesting the Russian won’t try to win, but I do think he’ll look to end points quicker and try to preserve his legs. And that’s not what Medvedev does best.


Alcaraz complained about the court speeds after his loss to Zverev in his first round-robin match, but he looked great against Rublev in his second match. The Spaniard clearly adjusted to the conditions, and this court can suit him well. Alcaraz hits for more power than just about anyone, so he’ll make it hard on Medvedev to return balls if he’s hitting his spots. Alcaraz was nearly flawless with the ball on his racquet against Rublev, winning 94.0% of his first-serve points. Medvedev will surely test Alcaraz more than Rublev, but the fact he’s in a nice groove with his serve will make his job easier here. He should go to the serve-and-volley rather often in this spot.

It’s also important to note that Alcaraz had won two matches in a row against Medvedev before losing at the US Open. And Alcaraz had won those matches in straight sets, with one coming at Wimbledon. It's a matchup that the Spaniard has enjoyed in the past. And in a match that will mean so much to him, it’s difficult to envision the 20-year-old letting it go.

Pick: Alcaraz To Win (-145)