It will be the No. 3 seed against the No. 4 seed in both Astana and Tokyo with titles at stake on Sunday afternoon. Novak Djokovic faces Stefanos Tsitsipas in Astana, while an all-American affair in Tokyo features Taylor Fritz and Frances Tiafoe.
Astana Open: (3) Stefanos Tsitsipas vs. (4) Novak Djokovic
Djokovic and Tsitsipas will be squaring off for the 10th time in their careers when they clash in the Astana Open final on Sunday. The head-to-head series stands at 7-2 in favor of Djokovic, who has won six in a row against Tsitsipas and dominated their only previous indoor encounter 6-1, 6-2 at the 2019 Paris Masters.
After being dominant through three rounds this week, Djokovic ran into trouble in Saturday’s semifinals. He dropped the opening set to Daniil Medvedev and was two points from defeat in a second-set tiebreaker but took it 8-6 and then Medvedev retired with a leg injury. Tsitsipas booked his spot in the title match by beating Mikhail Kukushkin, Luca Nardi, Hubert Hurkacz, and Andrey Rublev. The sixth-ranked Greek has been decent but unspectacular in Astana, which is similar to his entire season. This is a better matchup for Djokovic than Medvedev was, so look for the 21-time Grand Slam champion to triumph without too much trouble.
Pick: Djokovic in 2
Rakuten Japan Open: (4) Frances Tiafoe vs. (3) Taylor Fritz
An American is going to win the Tokyo title–and the 500 points that come with it. The question is: which one? Current form favors Tiafoe, but Fritz is dominating the head-to-head series 4-1. Fritz has won each of their last four meetings, including two this year (6-4, 6-3, 7-6(5) at the Australian Open and 5-7, 6-1, 6-4 at the Montreal Masters.
Tiafoe reached the U.S. Open semis, clinched the Laver Cup for Team World by upsetting Tsitsipas, and so far in Tokyo has ousted Yasutaka Uchiyama, Bernabe Zapata Miralles, Miomir Kecmanovic, and Soonwoo Kwon. The world No. 19 is on his best-ever hot streak, but dropping the second set 6-0 to Kwon is rather alarming. Fritz has quickly gotten back in gear after being forced out of Seoul last week because of a Covid-19 case. The 24-year-old has secured a first-ever appearance in the top 10 with his Japan Open result and will be motivated for even more–such as Nitto ATP Finals qualification. As well as Tiafoe is playing, expect Fritz to continue his mastery of this matchup.
Pick: Fritz in 3
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