5 Players to watch out for in the Nitto ATP Finals

Can Alexander Zverev retain his title?
Can Alexander Zverev retain his title?

The final ATP event of the year, the Nitto ATP Finals 2019 is all set to commence in London and it promises to be a tight contest between the 'Big 3' - Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic, and Rafael Nadal. Federer won the Basel Open last month while Novak Djokovic won the Paris Masters this month, and both players will eager to continue their fine form.

ATP events have always provided a great platform for some of the higher-ranked players to prepare for major grand slam events and also help the upcoming players to assess their game. It also allows some of the lower-ranked players to improve their rankings and get some much-needed match practise before any grand slam event.

The London Masters will see some of the finest players keen to make a statement at the highest level. Youngsters such as Stefanos Tsitsipas, Dominic Thiem and Alexander Zverev will look to end the year on a high, while the battle for the year-end No.1 rank between Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic is sure to add excitement to the contest.

Last year’s London Masters was won by Alexander Zverev and the German will be eager to defend the title. ATP events have always produced new winners and this time too, there could be a new winner.

Here we take a look at five such players who could be expected to win the event.

# 1 Dominic Thiem

Dominic Thiem
Dominic Thiem

Dominic Thiem is considered to be the next top star on the global circuit and did himself some serious favours by winning the Indian Wells Masters in March this year and also won the Barcelona Open in April.

The Austrian also finished runner-up against Rafael Nadal in the French Open this year. Thiem beat Stefanos Tsitsipas 3-6, 6-4, 6-1 to win the China Open and continued his fine form to register a two-set win against Diego Schwartzman at the Erste Bank Open last month.

Thiem's biggest USP is his destructive forehands combined with his solid groundstrokes, which can trouble any opponent. His quick groundstrokes have outdone many opponents, while the topspin he applies to the ball is quite effective during the run of play, apart from his main weapon, a powerful single-handed backhand.

#2 Alexander Zverev

Alexander Zverev is the defending champion
Alexander Zverev is the defending champion

Alexander Zverev has been touted as the next big thing in the Tennis Circuit like Dominic Thiem, but the German hasn’t lived up to his billing. Many think that maybe the German may need some more time to develop the temperament one needs to excel in pressure situations, especially in the knockout rounds when the German tends to get a bit nervous.

However, his precise baselines have at times outfoxed his opponents. Zverev has enjoyed a moderate 2019, having won the Geneva Open in May this year. His rasping serves can outclass his rivals, while his backhand strokes are considered to be his main strengths and is an area where the German can be a big threat for his rivals.

Defending champion of the London Masters, Zverev will be eager to emulate his performance from the previous edition and make an impression this time around.

#3 Stepanos Tsitsipas

Stefanos Tsitsipas
Stefanos Tsitsipas

Stefanos Tsitsipas is the flagbearer of Greek tennis and the 21-year-old has put up some commendable performances in the past year. Tsitsipas's biggest strength is that can play long rallies and his deceptive moves can trouble his opponents during the run of play.

Tsitsipas made it to the finals of the Madrid Open this year in May where he lost to Novak Djokovic in the final. He also made it to the semi-finals of the Rome Masters where he lost to Rafael Nadal apart from beating Roger Federer in the quarterfinals of the Australian Open.

Stefanos Tsitsipas is a kind of player who has a vast amount of talent and is known for his precise baselines and superb forehands, apart from producing grueling rallies.

However, similar to Zverev, Tsitsipas will need to overcome the challenges posed by the knockouts stages and take inspiration from his win at the Estoril Open in April this year to put up a good show.

#4 Daniil Medvedev

Daniil Medvedev is seen in action at the Paris Masters
Daniil Medvedev is seen in action at the Paris Masters

Daniil Medvedev won the Sydney International in January last year by beating local player Alex De Minaur in the final and also won the Japan Open last year in October by beating Kei Nishikori. The 23-year-old is quite good with his deceptive drop shots and can be a tricky player at the net.

The Russian has also shown sharpness with his precise baselines but has often stressed on the need to work on his serves. His destructive two-handed backhands can outclass any opponent, especially on grass and hard courts.

Earlier this year, Medvedev won the Sofia Open in Bulgaria and also made it to the final of this year’s US Open where he lost to Rafael Nadal. With wins at the Shanghai Masters in October, the St Petersburg Open in Russia in September and Cincinnati Masters in August this year, Medvedev could certainly prove to be a tough opponent for the challengers.

#5 Matteo Berrettini

Matteo Barrettini
Matteo Barrettini

Matteo Berrettini is a 24-year-old youngster who is one of the most promising talents in the Italian Tennis fraternity. The Italian won the Hungarian Open in April this year by beating Filip Krajinovic of Serbia in the final.

Berrettini can bring about a surprise element in his game due to his unpredictability at the baseline and at the net, where he uses deceptive drop shots to collect points. Berrettini also won the Stuttgart Open in June this year and made it to the semi-finals of this year’s US Open.

The strongly built Italian has also displayed his sharpness with powerful groundstrokes and can unsettle any opponent with his top-flight serves. Given his pace on the surface and form, Berrettini could certainly be in line to clinch his third title of the year.

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Edited by Prasen Moudgal
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