Daniil Medvedev vs. Hubert Hurkacz: Odds, Preview and Pick for First Match at ATP Finals
Credit: DeFodi Images, Getty. Daniil Medvedev hits a backhand at the ATP Paris Masters.
Daniil Medvedev vs. Hubert Hurkacz
|Time||Sunday, 7 a.m. ET|
|Odds via Caesars Sportsbook.|
The crown jewel of the ATP is here.
Because grand slam events are all independently run from other organizations than the ATP, this is the biggest tournament that the organization produces, at least in terms of stakes.
Over four million dollars are up for grabs, and 2600 ranking points could be awarded to the winner if he does so in undefeated fashion. That’s more than a player would get for winning a grand slam event.
The first match of the day pits the world number two, Daniil Medvedev, against the world number nine and the last man to book his spot in Turin, Hubert Hurkacz.
Medvedev and Hurkacz have met twice before, and each of those occasions brought fireworks. At Wimbledon earlier in the year, Hurkacz came back over a two-day span to pull off a shocking upset of Medvedev. In Toronto, Medvedev eked out a tight three-set victory that finished in a tiebreaker.
Will we see a repeat of those electric matchups once again, or will Medvedev roll to victory?
How Medvedev Wins
For the Russian, it starts with his serve, which is proving to be one of the most dominant on tour when firing. Last week in Paris, it was evident just how important his first serve can be.
In matches against Alexander Zverev, Seb Korda and Hugo Gaston, Medvedev was able to keep his first serve percentage above 70, and it paid off. He was broken just four times in six sets and won over 70% fo the points on his first serve in each match.
Against Novak Djokovic, it was a much different story. Medvedev only made 61% of his first serves, and it cost him. He was broken five times by the world number one and he only won 61% of the points behind his first serve as well. Of course, part of that is due to Djokovic’s brilliance on return, but in his US Open win, Medvedev won 81% of the points behind his first serve.
In the Aussie Open, he only won 68% of those points, and when won at the ATP Finals a couple of months earlier, the number was 80%. The link is very clear.
On the ground, Medvedev is going to have a slight edge in a battle of backhands. Each player likes to dictate off the backhand wing, but Medvedev has the capability of doing it just a bit better than Hurkacz.
If he can hold a marginally higher position on the court than he has in the past, he’ll be able to take a bit more initiative with that stroke, and it’ll help him pressure Hurkacz to be more aggressive in rallies, which he doesn’t want to do.
Medvedev is the all-around better player here, and a steady performance with a commitment to a game plan for the first time against Hurkacz would help him enjoy a much more comfortable victory.
How Hurkacz Wins
In this era of tennis, thriving at the net isn’t something that is typically a narrative that travels with a player, but that’s the case with Hurkacz.
Against Medvedev, capitalizing on his ability and composures with volleys is vital, given the position on the court that Medvedev plays. Often deep beyond the baseline, Medvedev concedes a lot of space on the court, but he’s so solid that it often works to his advantage, evidenced by his results.
Hurkacz is a player that can exploit that, however, and he’s done it in the past. At Wimbledon, Hurkacz came to the net 69 times and won 72% of those points. Medvedev arrived at the net just 31 times and he won 55% of those points, for reference.
Taking advantage of the space given to him will be crucial once again for Hurkacz, and despite the surface difference, I don’t anticipate that he’ll be hesitant to employ the strategy.
An all-around performance is always crucial against Medvedev, who is simply so solid, but that isn’t typically an issue with Hurkacz, who has a very steady game.
It’s hard to argue with the results when looking at this matchup, but Medvedev should be far more comfortable after his first two meetings with the Polish number one.
An understanding of the strategy that Hurkacz will utilize should force Medvedev to inch closer to the baseline, removing the space that Hurkacz will look to exploit. Medvedev has the game to adapt to that, and a solid serving performance that builds on his Paris stats should ease the pressure he’ll deal with on serve.
Back the reigning champion to get off to a smooth start in a new location.
Pick: Medvedev -4.5 +125