ATP World Tour Finals Preview
This Tuesday (14 November) will see day three of the ATP World Tour Finals at the O2 Arena in London, with two more tantalising ties set to take place.
Marin Cilic vs Jack Sock
Following losses for these two in the first match of the round robin, both Cilic and Sock are in desperate need of a win if they are to keep their hopes of taking the title alive. Sock is the first American to qualify for this tournament since Mardy Fish in 2011 and, having broken into the top 10 for the first time in his career, does not want to be staring at the exit door before he has even had a chance to find his feet.
Cilic is making his third appearance at this event, the traditional season curtain closer. However, he has only ever won one of his seven previous matches at the competition, a record he will be looking to rectify against Sock.
And when it comes to the history between these two, it is Sock who can breathe a little easier. The American has won both of their previous meetings and will be confident of making it a hat-trick in London on Tuesday afternoon.
The pair put on a memorable showing in the Davis Cup last year, when Sock came from two sets down to win an epic five-set encounter 3-2. If fans see anything closely resembling the drama and intensity of that contest then they will be in for a real treat.
This match is now as good as a straight elimination tie, with the loser as good as out of the finals. Sock looked impressive in his defeat to Federer, but the man who has the experience of this competition is Cilic – this contest is very finely poised indeed.
Cilic is hardly in fantastic form coming into this one, and if Sock can perform close to the levels he managed against Federer then he could well make it three wins out of three against this opponent. However, with the stakes so high experience could well be a deciding factor.
All in all, given the recent form of both men, you would have to say that Sock comes in as the slight favourite despite his tender years. Expect the American to win what should be a tight contest.
Odds: Marin Cilic (1.72), Jack Sock (2.10)
Roger Federer vs Alexander Zverev
Later in the day, Federer and Zverev will lock horns with both men looking to book their places in the semi finals. Both of these athletes have enjoyed a fantastic 2017 and this promises to be a hugely exciting encounter.
At the ripe old age of 36, Federer has won two of the four Grand Slam titles, while Zverev became the first player in 10 years to win two Masters 1000 titles in a season without being a member of the sports “elite” players. Zverev is already ranked at number three in the world at the tender age of just 20, and looks to be a real star of the future.
Federer did not play his best tennis in his first match against Jack Sock but did more than enough to win fairly comfortably. Zverev, meanwhile, was forced to fight back against Cilic, but 40 unforced errors indicate that the youngster still needs to work on his consistency if he really wants to challenge frequently for top honours.
However, only Federer and Rafael Nadal have won more titles than Zverev this season, and the young German could match the Spaniard should he win this competition. His head to head record with Federer currently stands at 2-2, and he is unlikely to be intimidated by facing the veteran.
These two have met twice already this year, with one win apiece, and while Federer may still remain the king of the court, Zverev may be the man waiting to take his crown. The Swiss star has already won this competition six times before, and is one of the favourites to make it a seventh title this time around, to add to the seven titles he has already won this season.
He has not, however, won this crown since 2011, but given his form over the course of the season should be in with an excellent chance. By way of comparison, Zverev’s win over Marin Cilic was his first in the competition, and he was not convincing for the entirety of the encounter.
Without doubt the young German is one to keep an eye on. For now, however, expect Federer to make it two wins from two at the O2.
Odds: Roger Federer (1.22), Alexander Zverev (4.33)
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