ATP World Tour Finals Thursday Tips: Hurkacz worth backing for handicap win

We have the final two matches in the Red Group at the ATP World Tour Finals today, and Dan Weston believes both matches will be close affairs...

Djokovic joins Medvedev in qualifying with a match to spare

Novak Djokovic went 2-0 in the Green Group at the ATP Finals with a straight-set victory over Andrey Rublev, while our recommendation, Casper Ruud, was voided due to Stefanos Tsitsipas' withdrawal with an elbow injury. This meant that Cameron Norrie came in as second alternate, and after a strong start, succumbed to Ruud in three sets.

Today's qualification scenario could be complicated

Before I move on to looking at each of today's matches, I thought it would be useful to run through the various qualification schedules in the final round of the Red Group, which take place today on day five.

From what I can work out from the criteria, Alexander Zverev is through as the second place qualifier if he defeats Hubert Hurkacz, although matters could get a lot more complicated should the German fail to do so.

If this happens, with Hurkacz getting the win, Hurkacz can still qualify if Daniil Medvedev beats Jannik Sinner in the second match on today's schedule. However, Sinner can still qualify in the scenario where he beats Medvedev and Zverev loses.

Zverev favourite for must-win clash

Alexander Zverev 1.23 vs Hubert Hurkacz 5.2: The good news for Zverev is that he's a strong market favourite to get the job done and make the final four. The bad news is that he will almost certainly have to face Djokovic in the semi-final should he do so.

Standing in Zverev's way today is Hurkacz, who impressed in defeat against Medvedev in his opener but struggled more against alternate Sinner in his second match.

The duo haven't met for around two and a half years, but in theory, Zverev should find a much-improved Hurkacz since then, and a player who is becoming more comfortable on the big stage after some strong displays at Wimbledon and in Masters 1000 level tournaments.

I think that Hurkacz can keep things pretty close today at worst.

He's a strong server and Zverev has won just 34% of points on return this year indoors, so it does point to a competitive clash where the winner will probably need to take their chances. The game handicap at around +4.5 games for Hurkacz looks a pretty good line at around 1.6, in my view.

Sinner can keep it close

Daniil Medvedev 1.39 vs Jannik Sinner 3.5: Medvedev is already through, but he hasn't had it easy in either match, winning tight three-setters on both occasions.

While he's also a strong market favourite to make it three wins from three, Sinner could be pretty motivated depending on the outcome of the first match today - he will know if he can qualify in advance of this clash.

The duo met indoors in Marseille in March, which resulted in a straight-sets win for Medvedev at a similar market price, but Sinner has improved markedly since then - he was ranked outside the top 30 at the time - and it wouldn't surprise me as well if this match is pretty close regardless of whether Sinner can qualify.

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