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Preview: Stefanos Tsitsipas vs. Holger Rune – prediction, head-to-head, tournament so far

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Sports Mole previews Tuesday’s ATP Finals round-robin match between Stefanos Tsitsipas and Holger Rune, including predictions, head-to-head and their tournament so far.
Both aiming to bounce back from opening defeats at the ATP World Tour Finals, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Holger Rune clash in Tuesday afternoon’s Green group battle in Turin.
The Greek sixth seed was swept aside by Jannik Sinner in their opening contest, while Rune pushed Novak Djokovic all the way but eventually succumbed to a three-set loss....Click Here To Continue Reading>>

Match preview
© Reuters
Coming up against the Turin poster boy in his opening ATP Finals encounter, 2019 champion Tsitsipas sought to improve on a record of five wins from his opening seven top-level meetings with Sinner, who had come up trumps in the most recent showdown between the pair in Rotterdam.

Tsitsipas held his own against Sinner and kept the mistakes to a minimum – only posting five unforced errors and not a single double fault – but the Italian’s blistering serves and 21 winners proved decisive in a 6-4 6-4 success on Sunday.
While finding the mark with some tremendous backhands on the hard court, Tsitsipas was also let down by a few shots on that side and did not fashion a single opportunity to break the 22-year-old, whom he respectfully congratulated on a brilliant opening display following the match.
Having gone down to Sinner in straight sets, Tsitsipas – who now holds a 51-23 record for the year – is already rock bottom of the Green group standings below the Italian, Rune and year-end number one Djokovic, raising fears of another early elimination.
After coming up trumps on his debut in 2019, Tsitsipas has been knocked out in the round-robin stage three times on the trot and will be consigned to his fate should he fail to make amends against Rune, who also has one or two wrongs to right after an epic battle with Djokovic.
© Reuters
Heading into his debut ATP Finals campaign, Rune had won a set off of Djokovic in each of their four top-tier matches and boasted a 50% success rate against the 24-time Grand Slam winner, whom he overcame in last year’s Paris Masters final and May’s Italian Open.
Once again, the Scandinavian starlet would give Djokovic an excellent run for his money, but as he ran out of steam towards the close of their three-hour slog, his esteemed foe took advantage to subject Rune to a 6-7[4] 7-6[1] 3-6 defeat in the evening’s headline encounter.

In doing so, Djokovic assured himself of the year-end number one ranking for the eighth time while condemning Rune to a losing start to his inaugural year-end tournament, although the 20-year-old could be particularly proud of his efforts, having outgunned Djokovic on the aces front with 18 to 10, albeit while being punished for seven double faults.
Forty-eight winners also played their part in Rune pushing Djokovic to his limit, and salvation is still on the cards for the 2003-born protege, who occupies third place in the Green group standings and is capable of rising into a knockout berth with a first-ever ATP Finals triumph on Tuesday.
Rune has vowed that he and newly-appointed coach Boris Becker will continue to “fight” while a semi-final place is at stake, and while he was pleased with how he handed the physical demands of his battle with Djokovic, it remains to be seen if there will be any lingering effects for the eighth seed on Tuesday.

Tournament so far
Stefanos Tsistipas:
Round robin: vs. Jannik Sinner 4-6 4-6
Holger Rune:
Round robin: vs. Novak Djokovic 6-7[4] 7-6[1] 3-6

Head To Head
French Open (2022) – Fourth round: Rune wins 7-5 3-6 6-3 6-4Stockholm Open (2022) – Final: Rune wins 6-4 6-4
While Rune and Tsitsipas are yet to cross paths in 2023, the pair met on two occasions last year – when the former was still a teenager – but despite his inexperience, Rune pulled off two giant killings of the 2019 ATP Finals champion.
During a sparkling French Open debut, a 19-year-old Rune downed Tsitsipas in four sets during their fourth-round battle, ensuring that two teenagers would be present in a Grand Slam quarter-final for the first time since 1994 as Carlos Alcaraz also progressed.
The pair reunited a few months later on indoor hard courts in the final of the Stockholm Open, where Rune had the Greek’s number yet again and clinched his second ATP Tour title with a 6-4 6-4 victory in 92 minutes, limiting Tsitsipas to just one break point which he comfortably beat away.

We say: Rune to win in three sets
Neither Tsitsipas nor Rune gave too much away in their opening losses – simply falling to the better player on the day – but the Dane left it all out on the court against Djokovic and would do well to target his opponent’s inconsistent backhand.
Capable of hitting an array of winners from all angles too, Rune’s power has already proven too hot for Tsitsipas to handle on two occasions, and we expect the 20-year-old to make it three for three against the 2019 champion, who seems set to bow out at the first hurdle again.

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Saturday’s Transfer Talk Update: Joao Palhinha, Javi Guerra, Ryan Gravenberch

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Sports Mole rounds up the latest confirmed transfer news and speculation from across the footballing world.
The January transfer window is almost here and clubs around the UK and Europe are lining up moves as they look to take advantage of the opportunity to strengthen.
Saturday morning’s headlines:...Click Here To Continue Reading>>

Manchester United and Liverpool reportedly enter the race to sign Fulham midfielder Joao Palhinha, who is also attracting interest from Arsenal. Read more.

Chelsea are reportedly willing to do whatever it takes to secure the services of Napoli striker Victor Osimhen. Read more.

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp plays down speculation suggesting the club will look to sign a new centre-back to replace the injured Joel Matip. Read more.

Manchester City goalkeeper Zack Steffen is reportedly in advanced talks with Colorado Rapids over a deal to return to Major League Soccer. Read more.

Premier League duo Chelsea and West Ham United reportedly receive a boost in their pursuit of Lyon’s 20-year-old attacker Rayan Cherki. Read more.

Valencia are allegedly willing to sell midfielder Javi Guerra for a fee in the region of £34.2m amid interest from Manchester United. Read more.

Pep Guardiola apologises to Kalvin Phillips for not selecting him in the Manchester City team this season, but the Citizens boss admits that he “struggles to see” the midfielder in his plans. Read more.

Juventus midfielder Adrien Rabiot, who has been heavily linked with Manchester United, will reportedly sign a new deal in Turin. Read more.

Sporting director Matt Hobbs reveals that defender Jonny will not train with the first team until February at the earliest after a training-ground incident last week. Read more.

Manchester United and Borussia Dortmund meet to discuss a possible swap deal involving Jadon Sancho and Donyell Malen, according to a report. Read more.

RB Leipzig head coach Marco Rose plays down claims that Timo Werner has been given the green light to leave the club during the January transfer window. Read more.

Real Madrid are reportedly keeping a close eye on the uncertain contract situation of Bayern Munich defender Alphonso Davies, whose deal expires in 2025. Read more.

Barcelona reportedly rekindle their interest in Manchester United’s Marcus Rashford and are considering offering Raphinha in exchange for the Englishman. Read more.

Ferran Torres allegedly tells Xavi that he is prepared to remain at Barcelona for at least the remainder of the season. Read more.

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Team News: Alisson Becker returns for Liverpool, Jarell Quansah starts

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Alisson Becker returns in goal for Liverpool’s Premier League clash with Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park, while Jarell Quansah starts in defence.
Alisson Becker has returned in goal for Liverpool’s Premier League clash with Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park.
The Brazil international has been out with a thigh issue since November’s 1-1 draw with champions Manchester City but has made a quick recovery to demote Caoimhin Kelleher back down to the bench.
Crystal Palace: Johnstone; Ward, Andersen, Guehi, Clyne; Richards, Lerma; Ayew, Hughes, Schlupp; EdouardSubs: Matthews, Tomkins, Riedewald, Ozoh, Ahamada, Olise, Franca, Ebiowei, Mateta
Liverpool: Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Quansah, Van Dijk, Tsimikas; Gravenberch, Endo, Szoboszlai; Salah, Nunez, DiazSubs: Kelleher, Gomez, Konate, Jones, Gakpo, Elliott, Doak, McConnell, Bradley
More to follow.
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