The opening day of the Nitto ATP World Tour Finals sees the two Green Groups playing out their first match of the round robin format in Turin on Sunday as the last tournament of a wonderful ATP season gets going out in Italy.
That means we get to see the defending champion Novak Djokovic and the home star Jannik Sinner over the course of what should be an exciting opening day of what really is becoming one of the better events on the circuit.
Ivan Dodig & Austin Krajicek vs Maximo Gonzalez and Andres Molteni
The day session begins as always with the doubles contest which in this part of the day sees the number one seeds Ivan Dodig and Austin Krajicek looking to put something of a marker down for the week ahead when they face the Argentine pair of Maximo Gonzalez and Andres Molteni.
Dodig and Krajicek are well fancied this week and after the season they have had it isn’t hard to see why that is the case but everyone is vulnerable in their opening match in this format and the Argentine duo probably don’t have a lot to lose in this one. They know their better winning possibilities come later in the week so they have a bit of a free hit to let their racquets go and see if they can do some damage. It is hard to go against the number one seeds but at the prices I’m more than happy to let them win if they are good enough to do so.
Jannik Sinner vs Stefanos Tsitsipas
The singles match in the first day session on Sunday will be the one the home crowds all want to see as their star Jannik Sinner looks to conclude a fine season by starting the last event with a win over a Stefanos Tsitsipas, who comes into the event under a few injury concerns.
That will be a shame for the Greek because all things being equal he would have liked the possibility of this matchup given that he has won five of their seven previous meetings. I think the caveat to that would be that Sinner is playing the best tennis he ever has in 2023 and is now a legit contender for any tournament he enters and he’ll have a fairly vociferous home crowd on his side for this one. I certainly wouldn’t want to be against the Italian in this one but he is the favourite for a reason however given the head to head between the two he is just a touch on the short side for me to get involved here.
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Santiago Gonzalez & Edouard Roger-Vasselin vs Marcel Granollers & Horacio Zeballos
The night session gets underway with the doubles action which here pits the fourth and fifth seeds against each other in what is entitled to be a very close match and one which could be key for the two pairs involved given that the number one seeds await down the line for them.
I’ve already laid my colours to the mast of the Spanish-Argentine pair of Granollers and Zeballos and I have to admit that I am tempted by them at odds against in this one but I am respectful of the fact that their opponents have gone well this season. I do think the experience of the lower ranked pair might be the thing which wins the day for them but I’m happy enough if they win this game without getting involved in them again so all things being equal I’m happy enough to leave this one alone although I wouldn’t put anyone off backing Granollers and Zeballos.
Novak Djokovic vs Holger Rune
The star-studded tennis is likely to continue in the final match of the evening as the defending champion Novak Djokovic takes on the tournament debutant in Holger Rune to close out the opening day of the competition.
Djokovic has made his way back to number one in the world rankings and will be out to make a successful defence of the title this week but he will know as much as anyone the troubles which Rune has given him in their four previous meetings. He has twice beaten the Serbian which is no mean feat and in the two matches the Dane has lost to him, including in Paris last week, he has taken a set from him so anyone thinking this is a one-sided, foregone conclusion that we often see whenever Djokovic takes to the court in this tournament, might need to think again. Rune should enjoy the conditions here because he will be able to get the ball through the court and that also bodes well for him. Every match these two have played has had more than 21.5 games in it and there is nothing to suggest just a week on from their previous meeting that this one will not continue that trend.
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