Sports Mole previews Monday’s ATP Finals round-robin match between Daniil Medvedev and Andrey Rublev, including predictions and their head-to-head record.
Two good friends will take to the hard court in the ATP World Tour Finals Red group on Monday night, as Russian duo Daniil Medvedev and Andrey Rublev meet in their opening round-robin encounter.
The former is taking part in the year-end championships for the fifth successive season, while Rublev has now appeared at the ATP Finals four times on the trot....Click Here To Continue Reading>>
As has been the case in eight previous top-level meetings between the pair, Medvedev will push his friendship with Rublev to one side as he searches for a second ATP Finals crown to add to his 2020 triumph, one year before he achieved his Grand Slam dream at the US Open.
The towering Moscow native would also progress to the showpiece match of the ATP Finals that season, only to suffer heartache at the hands of Alexander Zverev, while round-robin exits in 2019 and 2022 are best consigned to the history books.
Medvedev had eyes on a spot in Turin right at the start of 2023 owing to a phenomenal start to the season, winning no fewer than three ATP Tour titles in February alone as he prevailed in Rotterdam, Qatar and Dubai, before also taking home two Masters trophies from Miami and Rome.
However, the third seed enters the group phase having been bested in each of his last three top-level finals, losing to Jannik Sinner in the Vienna and China showpiece events in October, not to forget his failed attempt to deny Novak Djokovic major title number 24 at Flushing Meadows.
Medvedev was also swept aside by Carlos Alcaraz in the final of the Indian Wells Masters eight months ago and was beaten by Grigor Dimitrov in the last 32 of the recent Paris Masters, but with 64 wins and 16 defeats on his notebook for the year, the 27-year-old is anything but a dark horse for the Turin title.
Another year, another season of quarter-final anguish for world number five Andrey Rublev, who was unable to lift the last-eight curse at the Australian Open, Wimbledon and US Open, while only getting as far as round three at Roland Garros.
The 26-year-old has now tried and failed nine times to reach a major semi-final, but he ended his long wait for an ATP 1000 crown at this year’s Monte-Carlo Masters – coming from a set down to see off Holger Rune in the final – before also making waves at the recent Shanghai and Paris Masters.
Rublev took home the runners-up trophy from Shanghai courtesy of an enthralling defeat to Hubert Hurkacz – his third loss from his last four top-level finals – before failing to build on an opening set triumph over Djokovic in the last four in Paris, but he does also bring a Swedish Open triumph with him to the ATP Finals.
The Russian’s first two year-end championship appearances in 2020 and 2021 both ended with a round-robin departure, but he progressed to the knockout stages in last year’s event, only to fall to Casper Ruud’s superiority in the semi-finals.
From his 79 matches on the tour this year, Rublev boasts a praiseworthy 56 wins alongside 23 defeats, but despite sharing a couple of laughs with Medvedev at a recent press conference, the compatriots will swap smiles for stoicism as they endeavour to make winning starts on Monday.
Head To Head
Cincinnati Masters (2019) – Quarter-final: Medvedev wins 6-2 6-3St. Petersburg Open (2019) – Quarter-final: Medvedev wins 6-4 7-5US Open (2020) – Quarter-final: Medvedev wins 7-6 6-3 7-6Australian Open (2021) – Quarter-final: Medvedev wins 7-5 6-3 6-2Cincinnati Masters (2021) – Semi-final: Rublev wins 2-6 6-3 6-3ATP Finals (2022) – Round robin: Rublev wins 6-7 6-3 7-6Dubai Tennis Championships (2023) – Final: Medvedev wins 6-3 6-2US Open (2023) – Quarter-final: Medvedev wins 6-4 6-3 6-4
Following their frequent meetings at junior level, Medvedev and Rublev have squared off eight times at the top level, and the former leads the way with six victories to his name compared to a paltry two for the world number five.
Each of their first four ATP Tour battles – which all came in various quarter-finals – saw Medvedev come out on the winning side, including the 2020 US Open and 2021 Australian Open, before Rublev earned his maiden victory in the semi-finals of the Cincinnati Masters two seasons ago.
That triumph preceded an enthralling success in last year’s ATP Finals group stage, but Medvedev has come up trumps in straight sets both of their matches this year, seeing off his friend in the Dubai final before subjecting him to more Grand Slam quarter-final misery in sweltering New York heat.
We say: Medvedev to win in three sets
What Rublev possesses in blistering serves and unstoppable forehands, he often lacks in mentality, having been prone to letting his emotions get the better of him throughout his fledgling senior career so far.
The Russian’s US Open loss to Medvedev was no different, and while the indoor conditions in Turin will be far more forgiving than at Flushing Meadows, the fifth seed will likely succumb to his compatriot’s defensive mastery yet again.
No Data Analysis info
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Arsenal considering Viktor Gyokeres signing, scouted him more than once
Arsenal have been closely monitoring Sporting Lisbon striker Viktor Gyokeres ahead of a possible approach, according to Portuguese publication Record (page 14).
The Sweden international had a good stint in the Championship with Coventry City last term. He registered 22 goals and 12 assists from 50 appearances.
He was linked with a potential switch to the Premier League over the summer, but Sporting eventually won the race to sign him for €20 million plus add-ons.
It is now reported that the Gunners have scouted him more than once this campaign and they are now considering the possibility of landing his signature.
However, Sporting are quite clear that they don’t want to lose him in January unless any club is willing to trigger the hefty €100m release clause in his contract.
Arsenal linked with surprise move for Gyokeres
The 25-year-old was linked with a Premier League switch last summer after Coventry missed out on top-flight promotion to Luton Town via the play-offs.
West Ham United were the most interested English club in the Swede, but he chose to make the move to Sporting, who are currently top of the Primeira Liga.
Gyokeres has been pivotal for the club with 15 goals and seven assists from just 17 appearances and we are not surprised that Arsenal are monitoring him.
The Gunners already hold an interest in his teammate Ousmane Diomande, but any deal could be delayed until the summer with Sporting unwilling to negotiate in January.
A move for Diomande seems justifiable with his huge potential as a 19-year-old centre-back, but we believe there are better strikers that Arsenal could pursue over Gyokeres.
Gyokeres would be a good acquisition for a mid-table Premier League side, but the Gunners should aim higher and recruit someone like Victor Osimhen if they want to win titles.
Stats from Transfermarkt.com
AC Milan ‘intensify efforts to sign Arsenal defender Jakub Kiwior’
AC Milan are reportedly set to step up their efforts to sign Arsenal’s Jakub Kiwior and are ready to open discussions over a possible move for the player in January....Click Here To Continue Reading>>
AC Milan are reportedly set to step up their efforts to sign defender Jakub Kiwior and are ready to open discussions with Arsenal over a possible move for the player in the January transfer window.
The 23-year-old arrived from Italian outfit Spezia in the last window but has not been able to nail down a regular starting role under Mikel Arteta during his time in North London.
Kiwior has made only five starts in all competitions over the last 11 months, with two of those coming in the Carabao Cup.
According to 90min, Kiwior is keen to play more regularly, and The Gunners are open to granting the defender a loan to move away from the Emirates Stadium in January.
The report adds that with the possibility of the defender becoming available in the New Year, AC Milan have emerged as one of the frontrunners to secure the 23-year-old’s services and are preparing to open discussion with Arsenal over a potential move.
It is understood that the Rossoneri are keen on a loan move for Kiwior, with the option to purchase him outright next summer.
The Serie A giants are also believed to be happy to agree with an obligation to buy the player next summer if it will help get the deal done.
AC Milan are expected to be active in the upcoming transfer market as they try to bolster their defensive line, with the likes of centre-backs Malick Thiaw and Pierre Kalulu currently sidelined through injury.
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Preview: Inter Milan vs. Udinese – prediction, team news, lineups
Sports Mole previews Saturday’s Serie A clash between Inter Milan and Udinese, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
After disposing of last season’s Scudetto winners, Inter Milan will continue their quest for this term’s Serie A title on Saturday, when they host Udinese.
Having crushed Napoli down south, Inter return to their San Siro stronghold topping the table by two points from old foes Juventus; meanwhile, the visitors are Italy’s draw specialists....Click Here To Continue Reading>>
Already most pundits’ favourites for the Scudetto, Inter rubber-stamped their status as the team to beat last weekend, as they dismantled reigning champions Napoli in their own backyard, with a little help from Hakan Calhanoglu’s stunning opener just before half time.
After the Turkey international struck sweetly to become the first Inter midfielder with more than five goals at this stage of a Serie A season since Lothar Matthaus in 1990, Simone Inzaghi’s side seized the momentum, and further finishes from Nicolo Barella and Marcus Thuram secured a superb 3-0 success at Stadio Maradona.
As a result, they moved back to the top of the Serie A standings, leaving Napoli 11 points behind – arch-rivals Milan trail by six.
Now boasting a goal difference of +26 (33 scored and just seven conceded) – equalling the club’s best record after 14 games, set some 90 years ago – the Nerazzurri have proved themselves a well-oiled machine that could take some stopping in Italy and beyond.
Indeed, Inter captain Lautaro Martinez (13 goals) has scored more times in Serie A this season than Saturday’s opponents Udinese (12), and his side have still lost just once in all competitions, having also confirmed their place in the Champions League’s last 16.
With a win this weekend, the second-city club would reach 38 points after their first 15 matches for just the fourth time this century, and recent history suggests that victory is theirs for the taking: Inter have lost only one of their last 11 league meetings with Udinese, winning each of the last five at San Siro.
Udinese’s lone win during that sequence did come as recently as last season, when they triumphed 3-1 on home turf, but the Fruilani are up against the odds on this occasion – not only due to their hosts’ might, but also because of their own failings.
Last week, Gabriele Cioffi’s side let victory slip through their fingers, as they led 2-0 and then 3-2 against lowly Hellas Verona but still contrived to miss out on maximum points once again.
Substitute striker Lorenzo Lucca left the bench after seven minutes and bagged a brace for the Bianconeri, but conceding deep into stoppage time left them with just one Serie A win all season.
A meagre total of 12 points from their first 14 games means Udinese have recorded their lowest tally at this stage of a season since 1994, and a relegation battle could be in prospect if they cannot hold on to such leads more frequently.
Since Cioffi replaced Andrea Sottil in the dugout, his team have at least edged their way out of the drop zone, but they still await a first league victory in Udine this season, having also drawn no fewer than nine times home and away.
Inter Milan Serie A form:
Inter Milan form (all competitions):
Udinese Serie A form:
Udinese form (all competitions):
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Inter’s fitness woes deepened last time out, as injuries to Dutch duo Stefan de Vrij and Denzel Dumfries left Simone Inzaghi somewhat short-handed at the back.
Carlos Augusto was required to deputise in the back three at Stadio Maradona, as Benjamin Pavard (knee) is still out of action. The latter’s defensive colleague Alessandro Bastoni (calf) should return to the squad, though, after missing each of Inter’s three games since last month’s international break.
Starting up front, summer signing Marcus Thuram has been directly involved in 11 Serie A strikes already this season (five goals and six assists) – the most of any new Nerazzurri player since Champions League hero Diego Milito recorded 13 in his first 15 appearances back in 2009.
A brace against Verona last Sunday took Lorenzo Lucca on to four league goals this term, so the ex-Ajax striker is set to start for Udinese in Milan; fellow forwards Florian Thauvin and Isaac Success should overcome minor injuries to feature on the bench.
Slovenian centre-back Jaka Bijol has been ruled out until January after having surgery on a foot fracture, while long-term absentees Gerard Deulofeu, Enzo Ebosse and Brenner remain unavailable too.
Meanwhile, in midfield, captain Roberto Pereyra plays a more advanced role, and Serbia international Lazar Samardzic comes up against the club he was within a whisker of joining earlier this year.
Inter Milan possible starting lineup:Sommer; Darmian, Acerbi, Augusto; Cuadrado, Barella, Calhanoglu, Mkhitaryan, Dimarco; Thuram, Martinez
Udinese possible starting lineup:Silvestri; Ferreira, Kabasele, Perez; Ebosele, Samardzic, Walace, Payero, Zemura; Pereyra; Lucca
We say: Inter Milan 2-0 Udinese
With defensive injuries mounting up, Inter boss Simone Inzaghi will be keen to take care of business against Serie A strugglers Udinese without taking too much of a toll on his squad. The Nerazzurri can take a stranglehold of the game by scoring at least once in the first half, then cruise towards win number 12 of their league campaign.For data analysis of the most likely results, scorelines and more for this match please click here.
Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting a home win in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Home Win:data
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