Third seed Alexander Zverev is one win away from returning to the Nitto ATP Finals semi-finals, but there’s a lot more at stake on Thursday as Hubert Hurkacz and Jannik Sinner are also bidding to extend their stay in Turin.
The German will take on seventh seed Hurkacz with the fate of the Red Group hanging on the line. With defending champion Daniil Medvedev already safely through to the semi-finals, there’s one spot left in the final four – and Zverev, Hurkacz and Sinner can all make a play on it.
For Olympic gold medalist Zverev, the mission is simple: win and he’s in. The 2018 champion has yet to post a statement victory in Turin, and his win-loss record sits at 1-1 after his opening matches. He won via retirement against an injured Matteo Berrettini, and narrowly lost in three sets to Medvedev, but he still favours his chances in the event.
“This is not like any other tournament. I am in the tournament still, I still have a chance to win the tournament and this is what I’m thinking to myself,” Zverev said on Tuesday. “Of course, I wanted to win [against Medvedev], there’s no doubt about it, I lost 8/6 in a third-set tie-break. But the tournament isn’t done yet.”
It’s a position he has been in before: Zverev owns the longest streak of consecutive appearances at the Nitto ATP Finals among active players and is the second-most experienced competitor in the eight-man field behind Novak Djokovic.
During his title-winning run in 2018, Zverev similarly arrived at his last round-robin match with a 1-1 record after winning over Marin Cilic and losing to Djokovic. Back then, the German found a way to overpower John Isner in straight sets to send him into the semi-finals.
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He’ll be hoping for more of the same against Hurkacz on Thursday. Zverev owns a 1-0 lead in the ATP Head2Head against Hurkacz, but a lot has changed since that three-set match in Madrid in 2019.
“I’m ready to play Hubi on Thursday, and I think that will be the deciding match for me,” Zverev said. “I’m excited, I’m looking forward to it. I think it’s all in my hands, kind of.”
After a career-best season, Hurkacz might be making his final stand in Turin at the Pala Alpitour hoping to turn around his 0-2 group stage record – and blow the door wide open for himself, and possibly Sinner, to qualify for the semi-finals.
If the Pole can defeat Zverev, he can go through if Medvedev defeats Sinner, although the Italian can advance if Zverev and he defeats Medvedev. Hurkacz is still seeking the first win of his Turin debut after falling to Medvedev in three sets and then suffering a one-sided loss against alternate Sinner.
After rocking the Pala Alpitour with an unforgettable Nitto ATP Finals debut, 20-year-old Sinner is looking to keep the run going as he attempts to become the first alternate to reach the semi-finals in the event’s 52-year-history.
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He will be facing steep uphill climb against defending champion Medvedev. Sinner is 0-8 in matches against the Top 5 in the FedEx ATP Rankings, including an 0-2 ATP Head2Head against Medvedev – both matches took place on the indoor hard courts of Marseille.
“Of course, you want to go on to the semi-finals, you’re trying to do your best, but on the other hand, these are the best eight players in the world. And with me, nine,” Sinner said. “Everyone is tough to beat here, so let’s see what’s coming.”
Regardless of the result against Sinner, Medvedev is already through to the semi-finals. The Russian is seeking to become the first player to win back-to-back Nitto ATP Finals titles since Djokovic won four straight between 2012 and 2015.
In doubles, fourth seeds Marcel Granollers and Horacio Zeballos are one win away from the semi-finals as they take on eighth seeds Kevin Krawietz and Horia Tecau. Top seeds Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic will face sixth seeds Ivan Dodig and FIlip Polasek – both teams come into the match with a 1-1 record in the Green Group.
ORDER OF PLAY – THURSDAY, 18 NOVEMBER 2021
CENTRE COURT start 11:30 am
 M. Granollers (ESP) / H. Zeballos (ARG) vs  K. Krawietz (GER) / H. Tecau (ROU)
Not Before 2:00 pm
 A. Zverev (GER) vs  H. Hurkacz (POL)
Not Before 6:30 pm
 N. Mektic (CRO) / M. Pavic (CRO) vs  I. Dodig (CRO) / F. Polasek (SLO)
Not Before 9:00 pm
 D. Medvedev (RUS) vs [Alt/9] J. Sinner (ITA)
See below semi-final qualification scenarios in play for both groups at the Nitto ATP Finals:
Singles Red Group qualification scenarios as of Thursday, 18 November:
Following Berrettini’s withdrawal, Medvedev has qualified for the semi-finals and won the group.
– Zverev qualifies on Thursday if he defeats Hurkacz (any score).
– Hurkacz qualifies on Thursday if he defeats Zverev and Medvedev defeats Sinner.
– Sinner qualifies on Thursday if he defeats Medvedev and Hurkacz defeats Zverev.
Singles Green Group qualification scenarios as of Thursday, 18 November:
After defeating Rublev in straight sets, Djokovic has qualified for the semi-finals and won the group.
– Rublev qualifies on Friday if he defeats Ruud.
– Ruud qualifies on Friday if he defeats Rublev.
– Norrie cannot advance to the semi-finals.