Stefanos Tsitsipas vs. Andrey Rublev Odds, Preview Prediction: Back Rublev in Battle of Two Struggling Players
Credit: SOPA Images, Getty. Andrey Rublev hits a forehand at the St. Petersburg Open.
Stefanos Tsitsipas vs. Andrey Rublev
|Time||Monday, 3 p.m. ET|
|Head-to-Head Record: Tsitsipas 4-3|
In the evening session at the Nitto ATP Finals, Stefanos Tsitsipas will battle Andrey Rublev.
The duo have been two of the most successful players on tour throughout the year and in recent seasons, so it’s no surprise to see them facing off in this event. They combined to play one of the matches of the tournament in a crowd-less 2020 Finals.
Despite the achievements that each player has found in 2021, neither enters the year-end event in phenomenal form.
Tsitsipas has lost three of his last four matches, including a retirement in the first round of the Paris Masters due to an arm problem. Rublev has lost four of five matches, and seeing the pair lose seven of nine matches is quite remarkable in and of itself.
They’ll have a chance to start their final campaigns off with a win in Turin, but who will come out on top in a clash of top-five players?
How Tsitsipas Wins
The Greek is a player that loves clay, and it’s due to his ability on the ground and from positions of depth that contribute to that. He isn’t someone that wants to engage in serve + second ball matches, and he’ll like rallies on his forehand side, though he has a solid but unreliable backhand.
Against Rublev, Tsitsipas has had success in the past by outlasting the Russian from the baseline and drawing errors while taking the initiative in points when possible. Despite his 6-4 career indoor hard court record, his worst record on any surface except grass, Tsitsipas has a 2-1 indoor hard court record against Rublev (he also won the ATP Finals on the surface in 2019).
While he would prefer this match to be on clay, he doesn’t need it to be. Tsitsipas has an incredibly effective serve when it’s firing, and that’s a big key to beating Rublev. Take the Cincinnati Masters final as an example of how to beat Rublev.
In that match, Alexander Zverev played clean tennis and offered Rublev limited free points on the ground while amassing his own on serve and attacking Rublev’s second serve. The German won 93 percent of his first serve points and limited Rublev to just nine percent of his second serve points.
That kind of pressure is insurmountable for Rublev and most players on tour, but those numbers can be far worse to get the job done. It doesn’t have to be a masterclass from Tsitsipas, but playing clean tennis and being efficient on his own serve and against Rublev’s second serve provides a path to victory.
How Rublev Wins
To start things off, if Rublev plays like he has in the past three weeks, he stands almost no chance against a healthy Tsitsipas.
Against Taylor Fritz, Rublev wasn’t able to generate anything on return, winning just 18 return points over two long sets and failing to generate a single break point. Against van de Zandschulp, that number was 17, and in three of his last four losses he didn’t win more than 50% of the points behind his second serve.
It’s obvious that serve and return ability will be vital, but he’ll also have to take advantage of the speedy courts in the new ATP Finals venue.
Though Tsitsipas isn’t a player that excels on fast surfaces, Rublev is, with four of his titles coming on indoor hard courts. In theory, the conditions are far better for Rublev, but he hasn’t displayed that indoor hard court ability in recent weeks, so it’s hard to say with certainty.
If Rublev can find the rhythm that has suited him so well in these conditions in the past, he has the potential to make life very difficult for Tsitsipas.
When evaluating a matchup between two players that are completely out of form, it becomes a bit of a decision of who can snap out of it quicker.
For me, the conditions and fitness is just a touch better for Rublev, so I will give the world number five the edge at plus-money. When striking the ball well, he has all the tools required to exploit Tsitsipas, but it’s going to take a better showing than what he’s done in recent events.
He has the chance to end the season on a high note, and I believe that starts with this match. Back Rublev to end his barren run of form and open up his account in Turin.
Andrey Rublev +114