Rolex Paris Masters Semifinal Odds & Best Bets: How to Play Djokovic-Hurkacz and Medvedev-Zverev
Credit: Quality Sports Images, Getty. Alexander Zverev hits a backhand at the Rolex Paris Masters.
After all four favorites won in the quarterfinals of the Rolex Paris Masters, we’re left with a blockbuster duo of semifinal matches.
Three of the top four in the ATP rankings will take the court on Saturday, and Hubert Hurkacz rounds at the group at number 10 in the world.
Here’s how I’ll be betting the star-studded matchups.
Match times are subject to change. Read here for advice on watching tennis matches.
Novak Djokovic (-600) vs. Hubert Hurkacz (+410)
9 a.m. ET
This is a match that projects to be a fascinating one on many levels.
Djokovic and Hurakcz have met twice before, with the world number one taking both meetings, one on clay and one on grass. This indoor, hardcourt Paris surface maintains some of the characteristics that you see on clay and grass courts, and it will be interesting to watch with these two.
The surface at the AccorHotels Arena won’t offer the same type of purchase that a clay court would, but it also won’t offer the same type of speed that a standard grass court would. A slow and hard surface is just the type of court that Djokovic and Hurkacz would want to be on, as both like to rally from the baseline and display excellent patience.
Two of the best craftsmen in the game, both are incredibly adept at passing opponents when they come to the net, so expect lung-busting rallies that will enter double-digits time after time.
For Hurkacz, the problem is that Djokovic displayed the ridiculous level of form on Friday that we’re used to seeing him consistently reach year after year. The Serbian put on a world-class display of movement and ball-striking against the in-form Taylor Fritz, and it resulted in a comfortable victory.
— Tennis TV (@TennisTV) November 5, 2021
Mentally, both enter the match with different levels of pressure as well. By beating James Duckworth in the quarterfinals, Hurkacz secured his spot in the end-of-year ATP Finals, his most important goal for the week. We could see a let-down from the Polish number one, but we could also see a loose and comfortable one.
Djokovic is still seeking to ensure his status as the year-end number one, and a title in Paris would ensure him that achievement for a record seventh time. The pressure of that feat, however, pales in comparison to the pressure he dealt with at the US Open (and at every grand slam), when he fell at the final hurdle on the journey to completing a calendar grand slam, so expect him to look fairly calm on court.
With a number of unknowns heading into the match and not a lot of value on the board, I’m going to pass on betting this match.
Pick: No Bet
Daniil Medvedev (-150) vs. Alexander Zverev (+120)
11:30 a.m. ET
In the showpiece matchup of the day, the world number two Medvedev takes on the world number four Zverev.
Both come into the match in fine form, but Zverev has been on an absolute tear since the ATP moved past Wimbledon back onto hard courts. In the five tournaments he’s played since the grass court slam (excluding Paris), he’s won three (Tokyo Olympics, Cincinnati Masters, Vienna 500) and reached the quarterfinals or better of two (US Open, Indian Wells Masters).
The German has certainly had the best year of anyone on tour excluding the two slam champions, and he’s done a bulk of that work in the last three months. In Paris, Zverev has shown some vulnerabilities, but he’s grinded his way through Dusan Lajovic, Grigor Dimitrov and Casper Ruud to reach the semifinals.
Medvedev is playing in his second tournament since winning the US Open. He had a stunning collapse against Grigor Dimitrov in the Indian Wells quarterfinals and has also struggled to get by quality opposition in Paris, but the Russian is still one of the most difficult opponents to face on tour.
Zverev and Medvedev have already met nine times on tour, with Zverev taking the first four and Medvedev now on a three-match winning streak that included the 2020 Paris final. I expect Zverev to break that streak for a key reason, however.
Medvedev has been vocal in his displeasure regarding the court speeds of recent events on tour. He has already lamented this week how slow the courts in Paris are.
Daniil Medvedev expressing that the court and the ball are too slow at the @RolexPMasters this year. He says he can't understand why "they" try to make hard courts slow. "Hard courts are not supposed to be slow." #RolexParisMasters
— Tennis Majors (@Tennis_Majors) November 5, 2021
While one would think this helps his game — a counter-attacker who likes to play from deep positions — he hasn’t been able to master slow courts just yet. Medvedev has historically struggled on clay and slower surfaces, while Zverev has had no issues with them.
He has six clay-court titles at the tour level and has been enjoying a nice run of form on this type of surface. Most recently, he won the Erste Bank Open on a largely similar surface.
Given the form and comfortability level that Zverev has right now, I would peg him as a favorite. Getting him at plus-money is a steal.
Pick: Zverev +120 via Caesars