Date: 15 November 2020
Tournament: Nitto ATP Finals 2020
Round: Round-robin stage
Venue: London, United Kingdom
Category: ATP Finals
Surface: Indoor hardcourt
Prize money: $5,700,000
Match timing: 8 pm GMT, 1.30 AM IST
Live telecast: USA - ESPN / Tennis Channel | India - Sony / Sony Liv
Rafael Nadal vs Andrey Rublev preview
After winning an historic 13th French Open title to tie Roger Federer's record of 20 Slams, Rafael Nadal now has his sights set on the only big title that has eluded him so far. And this year the Spaniard might have a better chance than ever of finally getting his hands on the ATP Finals trophy.
Previously, Nadal used to come into the season-ending finale totally drained after a long year on the tour. But in 2020 he hasn't played nearly as many matches as usual, due to the season getting cut short by the pandemic. His decision to skip the US Open has probably helped even more in that regard.
Nadal has been an ATP Finals runner-up on two occasions in the past. And in his most recent appearance on indoor hardcourts, he reached the semifinals of the Paris Masters.
His opponent, Andrey Rublev, comes into the event as the most in-form player on the tour. The Russian is arguably the most improved player of 2020, having collected a rich haul of five titles already. That includes three trophies at the ATP 500 level - Hamburg, St. Petersburg and Vienna, with the latter two coming on indoor hardcourts.
In his last event at the Paris Masters, Rublev lost in the third round to Stan Wawrinka. The early exit may have given him some time to recharge his batteries, after having played almost non-stop since the tour resumed in August.
Rafael Nadal vs Andrey Rublev head-to-head
Rafael Nadal leads the career head-to-head record against Andrey Rublev 1-0. The Spaniard won their only encounter, at the 2017 US Open quarterfinals, in straight sets.
Rafael Nadal vs Andrey Rublev prediction
Rafael Nadal hasn't always been able to translate his outdoor hardcourt success to indoor hardcourts, with Madrid 2005 being his sole title on that surface. While Nadal is much fresher physically right now as compared to other years, the surface still remains a big challenge for him.
The fact that he is not able to generate the same spin and velocity off his groundstrokes as on other surfaces tends to hurt his chances.
Andrey Rublev meanwhile has all the tools to do well on the surface, and since 2019 has started living up to his potential. The Russian's big serve and powerful forehand, along with his improved confidence and control over his emotions, have helped him make the jump to the top echelon over the last 12 months.
But while Rublev is surely the more in-form player, the World No. 2 will still have the edge given his vast experience. Nadal will likely go all out to win his first ATP Finals crown, and Rublev will have a huge task on his hands to keep the Spaniard at bay.
Prediction: Rafael Nadal to win in three sets.Published 13 Nov 2020, 14:42 IST