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Kyrgios On What Has 'Added A Bit Of Fuel To Me'

  • Posted: Oct 04, 2022

Kyrgios On What Has ‘Added A Bit Of Fuel To Me’

Australian is seeded fifth in Tokyo

In his most recent previous media availability, a “devastated” Nick Kyrgios rued a missed opportunity in the US Open quarter-finals. After a fourth-round victory against then-World No. 1 Daniil Medvedev, the Aussie lost a five-setter to Karen Khachanov in New York.

“It was heart-breaking, obviously,” Kyrgios said in a pre-tournament press conference at the Rakuten Japan Open Tennis Championships. “At the US Open I had so much expectation after I beat Medvedev. The draw kind of opened up and I just didn’t take advantage of it.”

But the defeat did little to affect the hunger of this year’s Wimbledon finalist and Washington champion, who enters Tokyo as the World No. 20.

“It kind of added a bit of fuel to me,” the 27-year-old said. “I’ve been working hard ever since I lost to Khachanov. I went back home, had a couple of days off then got straight back out on the court.”

As the lone returning champion or finalist in this week’s singles draw, the 2016 Tokyo titlist is eager to get back to winning ways at the ATP 500 event.

“There are so many opportunities to have great weeks during the year. This is, in the scheme of things, quite a big tournament,” he said.

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“It’s easy to get motivated for tournaments like this. The people are great, the atmosphere’s great. I’ve had great memories here before,” he added. “I’m super excited to be here, that’s for sure. I had this circled on my calendar all year.”

Being in Japan, the fifth-seeded Australian was also asked for his thoughts on some of the sport’s local superstars.

On Nishioka, who enters Tokyo after winning his second ATP Tour title in Seoul, Kyrgios said: “I grew up with Yoshi since we were about 14 years old. He was always really talented and I always knew he was going to be a very good player on the professional circuit. His game style is very tough. If you’re not able to play big tennis and serve well, he’s got a good chance to win any match because he’s very fast, he makes a lot of balls.

“When I play him, I try to serve really big and make the points very short. I think this year he’s had a great year. He’s going to be playing with a lot of confidence this week, obviously in front of his home crowd, as well. He’s going to be definitely a dangerous player for the rest of the season, that’s for sure. He’s more than capable of winning more tournaments.”

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On Osaka, whose new sports agency, Evolve, signed Kyrgios as its first athlete in June: “Naomi, I love what she brings to the sport. I think she’s an amazing athlete. She can play some great tennis, but what she can do off the court is even more inspirational. She has so many people looking up to her. She inspires millions of people and I think that’s something that I bring, as well.”

Kyrgios also spoke about a player who is not competing this week: former World No. 4 Kei Nishikori, who withdrew from the Tokyo event as he works his way back from January hip surgery.

“I get asked so many times who I think is the hardest player to play. For me personally, Kei is a nightmare matchup for me. He returns extremely well, he plays so aggressive from the back of the court. He’s very tricky and I haven’t had much success against him at all,” Kyrgios said. “It’s unfortunate to not see him around because, as probably one of the best Asian players ever to play, you want to see these types of players in these tournaments… He’s a great guy, he’s well-liked in the locker room, he’s super friendly. I hope to see Kei back on Tour as soon as possible, he’s definitely a big part of it.”

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Alcaraz & Nadal Make History As World's Top Two Players

  • Posted: Oct 03, 2022

Alcaraz & Nadal Make History As World’s Top Two Players

Nadal passes Ruud to return to World No. 2

Spanish history was made on Monday when this week’s Pepperstone ATP Rankings were released.

With Carlos Alcaraz already at World No. 1, Rafael Nadal climbed past Casper Ruud to World No. 2, making this the first week the top two players are from the same country since 7 August 2000 when Americans Andre Agassi and Pete Sampras were Nos. 1 and 2, respectively.

“It means a lot to be part of the Spanish history,” Alcaraz said ahead of his first-round match at the Astana Open. “For me, to have two players at the top is crazy.”

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It is the first time a country other than the United States has had the top two players in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings.

Alcaraz became the youngest World No. 1 in the history of the Pepperstone ATP Rankings (since 1973) when he won his first Grand Slam title at the US Open. His debut in Astana will be his first ATP Tour event atop men’s tennis’ mountain.

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Nadal is back in the top two for the first time since the week of 3 May 2021. He was ranked as low as World No. 6 this January.

Alcaraz and Nadal are also the top two players in the Pepperstone ATP Live Race To Turin, putting them in position to battle for year-end World No. 1. Both men have already qualified for the Nitto ATP Finals, as have Casper Ruud and Stefanos Tsitsipas.

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Djokovic Builds Buffer As Turin Hopes Strengthen

  • Posted: Oct 03, 2022

Djokovic Builds Buffer As Turin Hopes Strengthen

Hurkacz and Fritz can challenge seventh-placed Auger-Aliassime this week

Novak Djokovic took an important step last week in his bid to qualify for the Nitto ATP Finals when he picked up 250 valuable points by winning the Tel Aviv Watergen Open title.

As a current-year Grand Slam champion, Djokovic will secure a berth at the eight-man season finale from 13-20 November provided he remains in the Top 20 of Pepperstone ATP Live Race To Turin. That scenario would see Djokovic qualify along with the Top 7 players in the Race after the Rolex Paris Masters on 6 November.

Currently 15th in the Live Race, Djokovic improved his chances of earning a place in the season finale for the 15th time. The 35-year-old increased his buffer inside the Top 20 by winning his 89th title. This year’s Wimbledon champion, who will look to tie Roger Federer with six season finale titles should he qualify, is 565 points ahead of 21st-placed Denis Shapovalov. The Serb began last week with just a 360-point buffer over the-then 21st-placed Alex de Minaur.

View Pepperstone ATP Live Race To Turin Standings

The five-time Nitto ATP Finals titlist has another opportunity this week to add points to his total at the Astana Open, an ATP 500. He will play Chilean Cristian Garin in the first round.

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The seventh position is being hotly contested by multiple players. Seventh-placed Felix Auger-Aliassime lost his opening match in Astana, opening the door for Hubert Hurkacz and Taylor Fritz to challenge his standing this week.

Ninth-placed Hurkacz and 10th-placed Fritz both can pass the Canadian’s 2,860 points. Hurkacz (2,680) would need to reach the final in Astana. He made a good start on Monday by defeating Argentine Francisco Cerundolo in Kazakhstan to set a clash against home favourite Alexander Bublik or Dutchman Tallon Griekspoor.

Fritz (2,385) would need to lift the trophy in Tokyo to pass Auger-Aliassime’s points total. The American will begin his tournament in Japan against Australian James Duckworth.

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Cerundolo Triumphs At Buenos Aires Challenger

  • Posted: Oct 03, 2022

Cerundolo Triumphs At Buenos Aires Challenger

Barrere wins Challenger 125 event in Orleans

#NextGenATP star Juan Manuel Cerundolo was among a trio of players to earn their first ATP Challenger Tour titles of the season Sunday. The 20-year-old triumphed on home soil in Buenos Aires to join Frenchman Gregoire Barrere (Orleans) and Italian Marco Cecchinato in collecting their first trophies of the season.

In front of an energetic Argentine crowd, Cerundolo defeated countryman Camilo Ugo Carabelli 6-4, 2-6, 7-5 in the final to triumph at the Challenger de Buenos Aires to claim his fourth Challenger Tour title.

Following his breakthrough season in 2021, when Cerundolo collected a trio of Challenger titles and won the ATP 250 event in Cordoba, the lefty has battled leg and hip injuries in 2022 that have forced him to take time off. This week, the 20-year-old returned to the winners’ circle, dropping just one set all week. The title lifts Cerundolo to 19th in the Pepperstone ATP Live Race To Milan.

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“I am relieved. I feel that all the months of recovery have paid off,” Cerundolo said. “I did not expect to reach this level so soon. My goal is to maintain the level I had in this tournament. I am feeling very good, today I was able to run everywhere.

“It is a plus to play in front of your family and your people, it gives you extra energy. At the same time, you have a little pressure because you want to show your highest level.”

An all-Argentine final filled the stands in Buenos Aires.
An all-Argentine final filled the stands in Buenos Aires. Credit: Manuel Cortina

Players from Argentina have combined for a season-leading 19 Challenger titles. Cerundolo is the 14th different Argentine champion of this year, tying a Challenger Tour record for the most different winners from a single country in a season (USA in 2006, France in 2011).

Ugo Carabelli, 23, was competing in his fourth Challenger final of the season. Following his title in Lima this past month, the Buenos Aires native reached a career-high 96 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings.

At the Open d’Orleans, Barrere won the all-French final, defeating Quentin Halys 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 to capture his fourth Challenger title.

Barrere is the first Challenger champion this year to defeat four Top-100 players en route to the title (fifth since 2010). After a first-round victory over Damir Dzumhur, the 28-year-old ousted Marton Fucsovics, Richard Gasquet, Hugo Gaston, and Halys to lift the trophy at the indoor hard-court event. 

In 2019, Barrere finished runner-up at the Orleans Challenger on home soil, a run that lifted him to a career-high No. 80. After being crowned champion this week, the Frenchman rises to No. 116.

Halys was competing in his sixth Challenger final of the season. The 25-year-old won the Pau and Lille Challengers in the spring and this past month, he reached a career-high mark No. 71.

In doubles action in Orleans, top seeds Nicolas Mahut and Edouard Roger-Vasselin were crowned champions. Mahut, former World No. 1 in doubles, and Roger-Vasselin, former World No. 6 doubles player, have earned seven Tour-level doubles titles as a pair.

On the clay-courts of Lisbon, Portugal, Italian Marco Cecchinato didn’t drop a set all week en route to capturing the Del Monte Lisboa Belem Open title, defeating Frenchman Luca Van Assche 6-3, 6-3 in the final.

Cecchinato, who reached a career-high 16 in 2019, claimed his first Challenger title since March 2018. The 30-year-old is a three-time Tour titlist (Budapest, Umag, Buenos Aires).

“I’m very happy to win the title. It’s important for me because this year has been a tough year,” Cecchinato said. “I started the year with an injury and after three months, I started to play again.

“This week, I played unbelievable tennis… It was not easy, every match was tough, but I was feeling good on court from the first round and today I was very focussed.”

<a href='https://www.atptour.com/en/players/marco-cecchinato/cf01/overview'>Marco Cecchinato</a> in action during the Lisbon Challenger final.
Marco Cecchinato in action during the Lisbon Challenger final. Credit: Beatriz Ruivo

In 2018, Cecchinato reached the semi-finals at Roland Garros, where he defeated Novak Djokovic in the quarter-finals before falling to Dominic Thiem. As the-then World No. 72, Cecchinato became the lowest-ranked Roland Garros semi-finalist since Andrei Medvedev (No. 100) in 1999.

Van Assche, 18, advanced through qualifying en route to his first Challenger final, a run that lifts him to a career-high No. 231 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings. The Frenchman also reached the semi-finals at the Blois Challenger in June (l. Alexandre Muller).

The LTP Men’s Open in Charleston, South Carolina, scheduled to finish 2 October, was canceled on Wednesday due to the potential impact of Hurricane Ian.

Did You Know?
On Sunday, Yoshihito Nishioka and Marc-Andrea Huesler added to the list of players to win on the ATP Tour and the ATP Challenger Tour in 2022. Nishioka, who won the Columbus Challenger in January, captured the title at the Eugene Korea Open Tennis Championships. Huesler, who claimed two Challenger titles in April (Mexico City and Aguascalientes), was crowned champion at the Sofia Open. Four other players have claimed a Tour-level title and Challenger title this season: Borna Coric, Holger Rune, Francisco Cerundolo, and Lorenzo Musetti.

ATP Challenger Tour 

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Alcaraz: 'I Never Thought I’d Be No. 1 This Fast'

  • Posted: Oct 03, 2022

Alcaraz: ‘I Never Thought I’d Be No. 1 This Fast’

Spaniard set to make Astana debut

Carlos Alcaraz, still only 18, was a portrait of poise in winning his first ATP Masters 1000 title in Miami back in March. But when they handed him the phone and he heard Spain’s King Felipe VI, with some congratulatory words, he lost his composure and fell apart.

A few months later, three days after his 19th birthday, the muscular Spaniard had a monumental run in Madrid. He defeated countryman and idol, No. 4-ranked Rafael Nadal, in the quarter-finals, No. 1 Novak Djokovic in the semi-finals and No. 3 Alexander Zverev in the final – for his second Masters 1000 trophy. Afterward, King Felipe shook his hand and posed for photos with the still ill-at-ease youngster.

After winning the US Open, becoming the youngest man to win a major since Nadal’s first title at Roland Garros in 2005, the freshly minted No. 1 player in the world was the guest of the King at Zarzuela Palace on the outskirts of Madrid. This time, Alcaraz looked and felt more comfortable. Indeed, he seems to be growing into his role as the reigning monarch in men’s tennis.

“It was amazing,” Alcaraz said Sunday in an interview with ATP Media at the Astana Open. “Everybody wants to meet the King of Spain. “It’s crazy when you enter, [seeing] all the people working. It’s a lot.

“Dreaming all these years, I’m probably in a movie.”

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The sequel begins in Kazakhstan, where Alcaraz is the top seed and Tuesday plays lucky loser David Goffin in the third match on centre court at the National Tennis Centre. Goffin was elevated into the main draw when Denmark’s Holger Rune pulled out with a right knee injury. Alcaraz defeated Goffin in their only previous meeting, 6-3, 6-3 in a second-round match in Melbourne last year.

The phenomenal field in Kazakhstan also includes four other Grand Slam singles champions: Novak Djokovic, a 21-time major winner, Stan Wawrinka, Marin Cilic and Daniil Medvedev.

Like many of the professional players in the game today, Alcaraz dreamed of becoming the world’s No. 1 player and a first-time Grand Slam champion. On the same day, 11 September, he simultaneously achieved both of those goals. He is the youngest No. 1 player in the ATP Tour’s history, going back to 1973. And he did it the hard way, becoming only the third man to win back-to-back-to-back five set matches on the way to a Grand Slam title; he was on court for nearly 24 hours, an entire day in the real world.

Hours after the match, he said he “turned off my mind and spent quality time” with members of his team and family. And then he went right back to work. Five days later, he was playing a Davis Cup match in Valencia, Spain. It had been only three weeks since his triumph in New York when he sat down to talk in Astana.

“I haven’t had too much time to understand what I achieved at US Open,” Alcaraz said. “Yeah, honestly, I feel normal. I feel like I’m the same kid, the same guy. Of course, it’s great to achieve what I achieved at the US Open and [becoming] No. 1 in the world, but I feel the same. It’s the tennis world – week after week, tournament after tournament.

“You have to keep focused on your goals and training.”

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After losing to Canada’s Felix Auger-Alliassime, Alcaraz rallied to defeat Soonwoo Kwon of Korea and help send Spain to the quarter-finals, where they will play Croatia next month in Australia with a chance to win the Davis Cup title.

When Monday’s Pepperstone ATP Rankings came out, not only was Alcaraz at the top, but Nadal had risen to No. 2. It was the first time that two players from the same country were 1-2 in 22 years, when America’s Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi did it.

“It means a lot to be part of the Spanish history,” Alcaraz said. “For me, to have two players at the top, is crazy.”

His goal, he said, is to finish the year as the No.1-ranked player.

“I think I said at beginning of the year that the goal was to be in the first 15 players,” Alcaraz said. “And now I’m No 1. From now until the end of the year, I have some good tournaments ahead. [My goal] is to show the best of myself in those tournaments.

“I never thought I’d be the No. 1 this fast.”

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Evans/Peers Make Winning Start In Tokyo Doubles

  • Posted: Oct 03, 2022

Evans/Peers Make Winning Start In Tokyo Doubles

Dodig/Krajicek advance in Astana

In the first doubles match of the 2022 Rakuten Japan Open Tennis Championships, fourth seeds Daniel Evans and John Peers made a winning start against Sweden’s Andre Gorannson and Japan’s Ben McLachlan on Monday.

In a 6-2, 7-6(5) victory, Evans and Peers converted on three of five break points and won five consecutive games from 2-2 in the opening set to take control of the match in Rakuten Mobile Arena, Tokyo’s second stadium.

The British-Australian pair dropped serve on the only break point they faced to fall behind 2-3 in the second, but delivered an instant response to draw level on a deciding point. From 3/4 down in the tie-break, they closed out the match by winning four of its final five points. Peers has enjoyed previous success in Tokyo, reaching the 2013 final with Jamie Murray.

The fourth seeds will next face either Alex de Minaur and Frances Tiafoe or Mackenzie McDonald and Marcelo Melo.

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Belgian qualifiers Sander Gille and Joran Vliegen closed Monday’s play at the Ariake Colosseum with a 3-6, 7-6(5), 10-8 victory against Japanese wild cards Toshihide Matsui and Kaito Uesugi. Despite failing to convert on any of their nine break points, Gille and Vliegen fired 12 aces on their way to victory in a dramatic Match Tie-break.

The Belgians could face Wimbledon champions and Matthew Ebden and Max Purcell in the second round, though the second seeds must first defeat Alexei Popyrin and Ramkumar Ramanathan.

Reigning Australian Open champions Nick Kyrgios and Thanasi Kokkinakis are the top seeds in the Tokyo doubles draw.

Dodig/Krajicek Advance In Astana
Ivan Dodig and Austin Krajicek began their Astana Open campaign with victory Monday, moving past Grigoriy Lomakin and Denis Yevseyev 6-3, 6-2.

The Croatian-American team will next meet second seeds Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic or Rohan Bopanna and Matwe Middelkoop. Dodig and Krajicek are aiming to win their second tour-level title together this season in Astana after capturing the crown in Lyon.

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Turin Hopeful Hurkacz Advances In Astana

  • Posted: Oct 03, 2022

Turin Hopeful Hurkacz Advances In Astana

Mannarino sinks Wawrinka, Bautista Agut upsets Felix

Hubert Hurkacz continued his quest to qualify for the Nitto ATP Finals on Monday when he moved past Francisco Cerundolo 6-2, 7-6(2) at the Astana Open.

The Pole looked in control throughout the 82-minute first-round clash against Argentine Cerundolo, firing 11 aces and saving the one break point he faced to set up a second-round meeting against Alexander Bublik or Tallon Griekspoor.

Hurkacz is currently ninth in the Pepperstone ATP Live Race To Turin, just 20 points behind eighth-placed Alexander Zverev, who has been sidelined since Roland Garros due to injury. The 25-year-old made his debut at the prestigious end-of-year event in Turin last season and will be hoping to boost his qualification chances with a deep run in Kazakhstan.

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Roberto Bautista Agut made a winning start on debut in Astana, upsetting eighth-seeded Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime 6-4, 7-6(6).

In a hard-fought clash, the Spaniard rallied from a break down in the second set to advance after one hour and 55 minutes. Bautista Agut, who has won tour-level titles in Doha and Kitzbühel this season, has improved to 2-3 in his ATP Head2Head series against Auger-Aliassime and will next play lucky loser Pavel Kotov or countryman Alejandro Davidovich Fokina.

“It is my first time here. I played great in these conditions,” Bautista Agut said. “I am very happy to win against a Top 10 player. To beat Felix is not easy. Especially on indoor [courts]. That means I had to play a very good match. I was very solid and also very aggressive and I am very happy.”

Andrey Rublev also advanced, defeating Serbian Laslo Djere 6-4, 6-3 in 71 minutes. The 24-year-old saved all three break points in the first-round match and now leads Djere 3-0 in their ATP Head2Head series. Rublev, currently sixth in the Pepperstone ATP Live Race To Turin, will next face Zhizhen Zhang after the Chinese qualifier defeated Aslan Karatsev 4-6, 6-4, 6-1.


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Adrian Mannarino moved past former World No. 3 Stan Wawrinka 1-6, 6-2, 6-3 to maintain his impressive record in Astana.

The Frenchman reached the final in his only previous appearance in 2020 and, after a slow start, looked strong at the hard-court event against Wawrinka. The 34-year-old outlasted the Swiss in the baseline exchanges to improve to 2-0 in their ATP Head2Head series.

Mannarino will next play top seed Carlos Alcaraz or Belgian lucky loser David Goffin.

In other action, Botic van de Zandschulp dispatched Kazakhstan wild card Beibit Zhukzyev 6-1, 6-1.

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Sinner Boosts Turin Hopes, Mover Of Week

  • Posted: Oct 03, 2022

Sinner Boosts Turin Hopes, Mover Of Week

ATPTour.com looks at the top Movers of the Week in the Pepperstone ATP Live Race To Turin, as of Monday, 3 October 2022

With the Pepperstone ATP Live Race To Turin heating up, Jannik Sinner strengthened his hopes of qualifying for the Nitto ATP Finals with a semi-final run in Sofia, while Novak Djokovic boosted his chances by triumphing in Tel Aviv.

ATPTour.com looks at the movers of the week in the Race following a three-tournament week on Tour.

View Pepperstone ATP Live Race To Turin Rankings

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No. 12 Jannik Sinner, +1
The Italian is up to 12th in the Pepperstone ATP Live Race To Turin after he enjoyed a run to the semi-finals at the Sofia Open. The 21-year-old, who competed at the Nitto ATP Finals last year as an alternate, defeated Nuno Borges and Aleksandar Vukic before he was forced to retire in the third set against #NextGenATP Dane Holger Rune.

No. 15 Novak Djokovic
The 35-year-old further boosted his Turin hopes at the Tel Aviv Watergen Open, where he clinched his third tour-level crown of the season. Djokovic defeated Marin Cilic in the final and did not drop a set in a dominant run at the ATP 250 event. If 15th-placed Djokovic, this year’s Wimbledon champion, stays within the Top 20 in the Race if will qualify for the Nitto ATP Finals.

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Fritz & Hurkacz Aiming To Make Moves As Turin Battle Heats Up

  • Posted: Oct 03, 2022

Fritz & Hurkacz Aiming To Make Moves As Turin Battle Heats Up

Four spots remain

With 500 points on offer this week at ATP Tour events in Astana and Tokyo, the Pepperstone ATP Live Race To Turin continues to gather pace as players vie for the four remaining available spots at the 2022 Nitto ATP Finals.

Rafael Nadal, Carlos Alcaraz, Casper Ruud and Stefanos Tsitsipas have all qualified for the prestigious end-of-year event, with Daniil Medvedev well placed in fifth. However, below the battle is tight.

View Pepperstone ATP Live Race To Turin Rankings

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Hubert Hurkacz (2635 points) and Taylor Fritz (2385) sit in ninth and 10th place, respectively, and will be aiming for deep runs to break into the Top eight. Hurkacz, who qualified for Turin last year, is competing at the Astana Open, where he will face Francisco Cerundolo in the first round.

The Pole is currently 65 points behind eighth-placed Alexander Zverev, who hasn’t played since Roland Garros due to injury, while he trails seventh-placed Felix Auger-Alassime by 125 points. Andrey Rublev is sat on 3055 points in sixth and, like Auger-Aliassime, will take to court in Astana. Depending on results, Hurkacz could overtake all three with a strong run on debut in Kazakhstan.


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Elsewhere, Fritz will play at the Rakuten Japan Open Tennis Championships, where he starts the week on 2385 points. The American, who lifted the trophy in Indian Wells in March, will need to win the title at the ATP 500 event in Tokyo to have any chance of overtaking Auger-Aliassime.

Fresh off his title run in Tel Aviv, Novak Djokovic will be in action in Astana. If 15th-placed Djokovic, this year’s Wimbledon champion, stays within the Top 20 in the Race as expected, he will qualify for the Nitto ATP Finals and then that will put the qualification cut at seventh this year, not eighth. The Serbian has triumphed at the end-of-year event five times.

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