pick

On Friday, world No. 7 Andrey Rublev and world No. 3 Stefanos Tsitsipas will meet in a match that will decide the final semifinalist at the ATP Finals. Tsitsipas is coming off a three-set victory over Daniil Medvedev, while Rublev was dominated by Novak Djokovic in a match that only took an hour and nine minutes. With these two coming off such different performances, it’ll be interesting to see how important momentum plays into this matchup. We’re banking on it being rather significant—which is part of the reason we’re going with Tsitsipas.

These past few weeks have taught us a lot about Tsitsipas. The Greek star has lost quite a few tough matches, but he continues to come out and play hard. There is a competitive fire we couldn't ignore; that was one of the main reasons we picked him against Medvedev. We knew he’d go out and take pride in playing hard, win or lose. That’s what made it hard to believe he’d be eliminated without putting up a fight.

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Rublev definitely doesn’t lack passion or emotion, either. But he has had some trouble keeping his cool in the past, and that really showed against Djokovic. Rublev lost his mind in that one—even doing a lot of damage to his own racquet. That’s something that makes us want to back Tsitsipas here. Even though mental strength hasn’t always been Tsitsipas’ calling card, he has been a lot more even keeled than his opponent in the past. And with this being such an important match, you have to strongly consider that.

It's also unclear exactly where Rublev has a significant advantage over Tsitipas. The Russian does have a bit more power, but Tsitsipas has the ability to move around the court rather easily. With that in mind, he should be able to get his racquet on a lot of balls, even with the faster conditions. But overall, it’s the big moments that we think will determine the outcome, and we don’t see a scenario in which Rublev comes out on top when the pressure is on.

Tsitsipas earned a 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 win over Rublev when they met on indoor hard courts back in October. Since then, Rublev has been a lot shakier than Tsitsipas, making it only more likely that the 24-year-old will emerge victorious, and cover the small game spread in doing so.

The Pick: Tsitsipas -1.5 Games (-125)