Both won their opening match

All the protagonists had their first match at the Nitto ATP Finals. Those who won the first in Turin can think on Tuesday of already conquering a place in the semifinals, the others hope to avoid a 0-2.

This second group includes Rafael Nadal and Felix Auger-Aliassime who face off in the afternoon while in the evening session Casper Ruud and Taylor Fritz will try to keep their record of victories intact.

In doubles, Marcelo Arevalo and Jean-Julien Rojer meet Marcel Granollers and Horacio Zeballos in the challenge between the losers of the first day. In the other match Rajeev Ram and Joe Salisbury take on Lloyd Glasspool and Harri Heliovaara.

order of play | Group standings | The scenarios for qualifying for the semifinals

[3] Casper Ruud (NOR) vs. [8] Taylor Fritz (USA)

Ruud and Fritz won their first match but can’t afford mistakes at the Nitto ATP Finals.

Ruud said he was very happy with his victory against Auger-Aliassime after the difficult months following the US Open final which brought him to the best ranking of world number 2 in the Pepperstone ATP Ranking.

“I don’t think I’ll relax, but I know it won’t be necessary to try to rush things to change the situation and that’s good,” he said after the match. “I don’t want to take anything for granted, just focus on the next two matches and pretend nothing happened. I have to show my best tennis in the next two matches.”

Ruud and Fritz will meet for the first time in their careers, but the Norwegian has already beaten a similarly aggressive opponent in Turin. In fact, Fritz and Auger-Aliassime base their game on powerful serves and heavy forehands — weapons that allow them to play more freely in return.

From Fritz’s point of view, for the second time he meets an opponent who considers clay his favorite surface, after the victory over Nadal. Against the Spaniard, Fritz explained that he benefited from the playing conditions at the Pala Alpitour in service and in exchanges.

“The court is definitely fast and it’s good for my serve and my backhand,” he explained in the on-court interview. “The different speeds of the surfaces all have some positive consequences for my tennis and some negative ones. On a slower court, for example, I know I have more time to load my forehand.

“On a court like this, I can lean on my backhand and attack diagonally against Rafa’s forehand and make it more difficult for him to take the initiative. On a slower surface, he would have more time to get to the ball with his forehand and neutralize my backhand crossed, and at that point I would have no chance”.

During the match, Fritz managed to stay neutral with his backhand in rallies but mostly took the field with his forehand against Nadal. L’INSIGHTS Shot Quality, an indicator that takes into account several factors to determine the quality of a shot, shows a score of 8.9 for his forehand against Nadal. Fritz played 30% of his shots in offensive projection against Nadal according to INSIGHTS, and will look to do the same against Ruud.

Fritz Forehand Quality

[1] Rafael Nadal (ESP) vs. [5] Felix Auger-Aliassime (CAN)

Nadal and Auger-Aliassime have arrived in Turin following very different paths in the last two months. The Majorcan played only one match after the US Open – losing on his debut against Tommy Paul at the Rolex Paris Masters -, Auger-Aliassime instead signed the most successful series of his career by winning 16 matches in a row and three titles in Florence, Antwerp and Basel before succumbing to Paris in the semifinals.

After that defeat against Rune, the Canadian also lost in his debut at the Nitto ATP Finals against Ruud. But given the format of the event he still has time to recover.

“I’m with my back against the wall” said Auger-Aliassime after the 7-6(4), 6-4 straight away against Ruud . “It would have been better to start with a win. I have to play better, I don’t think I did that badly but there are some details I can work on.”

To have a realistic chance of making it to the semifinals, the number 5 seed will need to get the first win in three ATP Head2Heads against Nadal.

The Spaniard, defeated by Fritz 7-6(3), 6-1, has not reached his best form. He has lost his last three games, all against US opponents. After the match, Nadal explained that he felt like he was on defense most of the time against the powerhouse Fritz and he expects a similar approach from Auger-Aliassime.

“Serving like Fritz always puts you under pressure,” said Nadal, also underlining how the speed of the indoor surface took away further time from him to set up his game. “When you serve like that, you know you can be more aggressive in return. He played very well, I didn’t enough.”

Auger-Aliassime came close to winning against Nadal at Roland Garros this year, but the Spaniard then saved himself in the fifth set.

Will the change of surfaces favor the Canadian, or will Nadal switch gears and get back in the running to win the Nitto ATP Finals for the first time? Should he succeed, he would also overtake Carlos Alcaraz and finish the season as world No. 1 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings.

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