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What's At Stake In Paris: Ruud, Sinner On Nitto ATP Finals Bubble

  • Posted: Nov 01, 2021

Casper Ruud and Jannik Sinner are both in strong positions to clinch the final two Nitto ATP Finals singles berths in Turin, ahead of the start of the Rolex Paris Masters, but three other players — Hubert Hurkacz, Cameron Norrie and Felix Auger-Aliassime — also remain in contention for the 14-21 November season finale at the Pala Alpitour.

Ruud, a winner of five ATP Tour titles this season, has 3,105 points in the FedEx ATP Race To Turin and is just 90 points ahead of eighth-placed Sinner (3,015), who sits in the final automatic qualification spot and beat the Norwegian en route to last week’s Erste Bank Open semi-finals. They will be hoping to keep matters in their owns hands at the final ATP Masters 1000 tournament of the year.

Put simply, Ruud will qualify for the Nitto ATP Finals for the first time if he reaches the Paris final, while Sinner can join fellow Italian Matteo Berrettini in Turin should he lift his fifth trophy of 2021 in the French capital.

Poland’s Hurkacz (currently 2,955 points), a three-time titlist in 2021, and recent BNP Paribas Open champion Norrie (2,875 points), who have both compiled career-best seasons, may also become first-time qualifiers with a title run. The FedEx ATP Race To Turin is set to end at the Stockholm Open, with the conclusion of the regular ATP Tour season on 13 November.

Current FedEx ATP Race To Turin As Of 31 October 2021

 Player  Points
 7th) Casper Ruud  3,105
 8th) Jannik Sinner  3,015
 9th) Rafael Nadal*  2,985
 10th) Hubert Hurkacz  2,955
 11th) Cameron Norrie  2,875
 12th) Felix Auger-Aliassime  2,420

*Out for rest of 2021 due to foot injury

Novak Djokovic, Daniil Medvedev, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Alexander Zverev, Andrey Rublev and Berrettini have already qualified for the Nitto ATP Finals in Turin. 

Additionally, four teams — Kevin Krawietz/Horia Tecau, Jamie Murray/Bruno Soares, Simone Bolelli/Santiago Gonzalez and Filip Polasek/John Peers — are vying to secure the last two doubles spots at the Nitto ATP Finals.

Krawietz and Tecau, who are currently seventh in the FedEx ATP Doubles Team Rankings on 3,110 points, will clinch their spot by advancing to the Paris doubles final, while last week’s Erste Bank Open champion Murray and Soares (eighth position on 2,915 points) could stamp their Turin ticket with the Paris title.

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Sinner Strengthens Turin Bid, Mover Of Week

  • Posted: Nov 01, 2021

8th Jannik Sinner, +2
The Italian continues his rise up the FedEx ATP Race To Turin after reaching the Erste Bank Open semi-finals (l. to Tiafoe) in Vienna. Sinner, who has won four ATP Tour titles this year, rises two spots to eighth place — the final automatic qualification position — for a place at the Nitto ATP Finals. The 20-year-old is bidding to qualify for the first time to join his compatriot, Matteo Berrettini, at the prestigious 14-21 November event at the Pala Alpitour in Turin.

View Latest FedEx ATP Race To Turin Standings

14th Diego Schwartzman, +2
The Argentinean, who competed at the Nitto ATP Finals in London in 2020, is up to 14th place with a two-spot rise after he advanced to the Vienna quarter-finals (l. to Tiafoe).

Other Notable Top 100 Movers
No. 20 Carlos Alcaraz, +20
No. 24 Frances Tiafoe, +13
No. 27T Marin Cilic, +8

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Medvedev: ‘I Do Follow The Race’ To Turin

  • Posted: Nov 01, 2021

With his position secured for the Nitto ATP Finals in Turin, Daniil Medvedev has the luxury of watching the last remaining contenders fight it out for the final two berths as the Tour heads to Paris this week. While the defending Rolex Paris Masters champion cannot afford to look too far forward, he admits he does keep an eye on the FedEx ATP Race To Turin.

“I do follow the Race, but not because I care who to play, honestly, but because it’s just so fun that [three] guys have big chances,” Medvedev said. “Casper [Ruud] just went a little bit in front, so I think he has quite good chances, but it’s never sure, especially with still two tournaments coming up, Stockholm included, and of course Paris being the biggest one.

“They can all make big points. They can all lose first rounds, and we have some other guys even behind them who can still win Paris-Bercy and get there. It’s super interesting, and I’m sure we’re gonna see all of them in Stockholm, and I think that’s when the Race is interesting.”

Medvedev recovered from a set down to defeat Alexander Zverev for his third ATP Masters 1000 crown in Paris last season before he went on to capture the Nitto ATP Finals in London. This year, he has gone from strength to strength as he ascended to World No. 2 with victory in Marseille, added a first grass-court title in Mallorca, a fourth Masters 1000 trophy in Toronto and his maiden Grand Slam title in New York.

“I have three tournaments ahead of me, two tournaments where there are points to grasp. Honestly, I want to win every tournament, because I know that I can do it. Maybe less on other surfaces, but this is my aim anyway,” Medvedev said.

“I managed to do that last year [win in Paris and at The O2]. It was wonderful, but it’s not easy. There are a lot of wonderful players. [Alexander] Zverev is in great shape, Novak is always a tough player, he’s always a favourite when he plays.”

While it is rare that the Top 2-ranked men share a practice court, Medvedev and Djokovic did just that recently in a training session on the French Riviera ahead of the Rolex Paris Masters. The pair had not crossed paths since Medvedev defeated Djokovic for his maiden Slam title at the US Open.

“Since I have become Top 10, I haven’t played him in training sessions. I didn’t know what to expect. I didn’t know if he had trained a lot or not,” Medvedev said.

“I had anticipated this as a good training session and it was wonderful. We played for two hours, one set, and it was great. Then we talked for 15, 20 minutes, I love talking with him. I think I can say that he’s a friend… It’s really seldom that No. 1 and No. 2 have a training session together.”

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Tsitsipas 'Trying To Become More Of A Selfish Player' To Succeed

  • Posted: Nov 01, 2021

In a career-best season, which includes a maiden ATP Masters 1000 title and first Grand Slam final, World No. 3 Stefanos Tsitsipas is well aware of what separates the great players from the very best.

At this point of the season, fine-tuning shots and fitness are only part of the equation. The Greek sees an opportunity to finish the year on a high at this week’s Rolex Paris Masters, where he is seeded third, and the Nitto ATP Finals in Turin should he channel a key mental outlook.

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“I have two more [tournaments] left and I’m trying to give my last breath on the court and become more of a selfish player on the court, and unveil my killer attitude on the court,” Tsitsipas said. “You have to be this way. The best players in the world, they are very selfish and they want everything for themselves, and I’m this way too.

“When I’m on the court I’m not mixing it up with my outside life, and I’m able to separate those two. I think once you become soft and start kind of getting into your emotions and feeling many things at once … it’s not really good for you.

“So blocking all of that and letting it pass through and just being able to stay in the moment, these are some qualities that top players have developed and are able to compete at such level, not really care what’s happening on the other side of the court.”

The Greek already added two career titles to his haul in 2021, including his maiden ATP Masters 1000 in Monte Carlo. He comes off his second defeat of the season to Frances Tiafoe, in the round of 16 in Vienna.

The American also gained the upper hand in the opening round at Wimbledon, after Tsitsipas reached his first Grand Slam final at Roland Garros. Despite his early departure from the All England Club, Tsitsipas reached back-to-back ATP Masters 1000 semi-finals in Toronto and Cincinnati, but suffered surprise defeats to #NextGenATP Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz at the US Open and Nikoloz Basilashvili in Indian Wells.

Paris will be the first time the top three players in the world have contested an event since the US Open, when Daniil Medvedev brought down Novak Djokovic for his maiden Grand Slam trophy. Tsitsipas said Medvedev had developed into one of the toughest players to face on Tour.

“Daniil has really perfected the game that he’s playing that not many players can play. I mean, to call him ‘Octopus’ was for a reason. He’s just able to get balls that not many people are able to … He has done very well this year,” he said.

“We all saw what he did at the US Open … He’s one of the most difficult opponents on the Tour, and I guess I’m able to learn from him, as well.”

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Scouting Report: Djokovic Returns, Medvedev Defends In Paris

  • Posted: Oct 31, 2021

The stars of the ATP Tour are set to compete in the Rolex Paris Masters — the final ATP Masters 1000 event of the season — this week. World No. 1 Novak Djokovic and defending champion Daniil Medvedev lead the way. looks at 10 things you should watch in Paris-Bercy.

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1) Djokovic Back In Action: The top seed will compete for the first time since the US Open, where he lost in the final against Medvedev. A victory in that match would have given the Serbian the Grand Slam, having won the first three majors of the year.

Djokovic will be confident knowing he is a five-time Rolex Paris Masters champion, with triumphs in four of his past six appearances at the ATP Masters 1000 event. The 34-year-old, who will open against Fabio Fognini or Marton Fucsovics, is currently tied with Rafael Nadal for the most Masters 1000 titles with 36. He will also play doubles with countryman Filip Krajinovic.

2) Novak Chasing Year-End No. 1 Record: Not only is Djokovic returning to action, but he can make history in his first event back. Novak and Pete Sampras are tied for the most finishes atop the year-end FedEx ATP Rankings with six each. There are three scenarios in which Djokovic can clinch a record-breaking seventh year-end No. 1 finish in Paris. The 34-year-old will do it if he reaches the final, if he advances to the semi-finals and Medvedev does not win the title, or if the Russian does not make the championship match.

3) Huge Week For Race: The FedEx ATP Race To Turin does not end in Paris, but it will be critical with two spots remaining in Turin in both the singles and doubles fields. The singles Race is especially tight, with only 230 points separating seventh-placed Casper Ruud and 11th-placed Cameron Norrie (ninth-placed Nadal is done for the year due to a foot injury).

Ruud and Jannik Sinner currently hold the final two qualifying singles spots. Seventh-placed Kevin Krawietz/Horia Tecau and eighth-placed Jamie Murray-Bruno Soares are trying to shore up their spots in the season finale, to be played at the Pala Alpitour from 14-21 November.

4) Medvedev Defending Champ: Second-seeded Medvedev will try to retain his title in Paris-Bercy one year after lifting the trophy. The Russian still has an outside chance at year-end No. 1, but he must make the final to maintain his hopes.

The 25-year-old, who will play Belarusian Ilya Ivashka or Spaniard Albert Ramos-Vinolas in the second round, will try to claim his fourth Masters 1000 title this week. He is still flying high after emerging victorious at the US Open for his maiden major crown.

5) Murray Leads Wild Cards: Former World No. 1 Andy Murray received one of the four wild cards, so the Scot will compete in the Rolex Paris Masters for the first time since 2016. That year, he critically won the title en route to finishing year-end World No. 1. The 34-year-old will face a tough test in the first round against qualifier Jenson Brooksby, who needed more than three hours to eliminate Spaniard Roberto Carballes Baena on Sunday. In August, Murray tweeted about the #NextGenATP American: “Jenson Brooksby is the sort of player I love to watch… lots of variety… high tennis IQ… great in defence… His slice and backhand volley are almost identical to Florian Mayer.”

6) French Hopes: The other three wild cards went to Frenchmen: former World No. 7 Richard Gasquet, Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Arthur Rinderknech. There are seven Frenchmen in the main draw, led by 15th seed Gael Monfils. The 35-year-old has found a good level lately, having reached the semi-finals in Metz and the final in Sofia. #NextGenATP Frenchman Hugo Gaston came through qualifying, where he needed three sets to beat Kevin Anderson and Lorenzo Musetti.

7) Tsitsipas Seeks Paris Breakthrough: It has been another strong season for Tsitsipas, who will pursue his second Nitto ATP Finals title in Turin. But first, the Greek star will try to make his mark at the Rolex Paris Masters, where he owns a 2-2 record. Both of his wins came in 2019, when he made the quarter-finals before losing to Djokovic. The third seed will have to navigate a tricky opening match against South African Lloyd Harris or Australian Alex de Minaur.

8) Zverev In Form: Alexander Zverev arrives in Paris as one of the most in-form players on the ATP Tour. The German has won 25 of his past 27 matches dating back to the start of the Tokyo Olympics, where he won the singles gold medal. On Sunday, he battled past Frances Tiafoe for the Vienna title. Now, he will try to go one step further in Paris than he did last year, when he defeated Stan Wawrinka and Nadal in back-to-back matches before falling to Medvedev in the final. First up for the five-time Masters 1000 champion will be Serbian Dusan Lajovic or American Mackenzie McDonald.

9) Americans Charging: Two Americans enjoyed great runs last week: Vienna finalist Frances Tiafoe and St. Petersburg finalist Taylor Fritz. Tiafoe eliminated three Top 20 opponents and Fritz backed up his run to the Indian Wells semi-finals. Both will try to maintain their level at the Rolex Paris Masters. Three Americans also clawed through qualifying: Brooksby, Marcos Giron and Tommy Paul. Giron rallied from 0-5 in the third set against former Top 10 star Gilles Simon in the first round of qualifying. McDonald and #NextGenATP star Sebastian Korda are also in the field.

10) Cabal/Farah Have Momentum: The top seeds, Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic, have won nine tour-level titles together this year. But fifth seeds Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah bring momentum to Paris after triumphing at the Erste Bank Open. Other teams to watch include second seeds Rajeev Ram and Joe Salisbury, Indian Wells champions John Peers and Filip Polasek, and Tsitsipas and Aisam-ul-Haq Qureshi.

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Djokovic On Chasing Year-End No. 1: ’That’s The Goal’

  • Posted: Oct 31, 2021

Novak Djokovic is making his long-awaited return to action this week at the Rolex Paris Masters, and immediately he has a chance to make history.

In his first tournament since losing in the US Open final against Daniil Medvedvev, the Serbian superstar has an opportunity to clinch his seventh year-end No. 1 finish in the FedEx ATP Rankings, which would break his tie with Pete Sampras for the most year-end No. 1 finishes in history.

There are three scenarios in which Djokovic can clinch the achievement in Paris. The 34-year-old will do it if he reaches the final, if he advances to the semi-finals and Medvedev does not win the title, or if the Russian does not make the championship match.

“The year-end No. 1 is on the line between Medvedev and myself, and I’m in a pretty good position,” Djokovic said. “That’s obviously the goal for the end of the season other than trying to do well in the Davis Cup with the national team. So hopefully I can have a strong finish of the season and clinch that year-end No. 1.”

Djokovic will take confidence knowing he is a five-time Rolex Paris Masters champion. In his past six appearances, the Serbian has lifted the trophy four times, made another final and advanced to the quarter-finals.

“I’m pleased to be back. I have been training really well [the] past couple of weeks. And I have had plenty of success in Paris-Bercy over the years, so that gives me enough reason to believe that I can do well, and I can go far in the tournament,” Djokovic said. “But having said that, the lack of match play could be dangerous, so I have to really make sure that I start off my first match very well with a good intensity and build my form as that match passes on and hopefully get a win and get myself more comfortable on this court and just getting that match play in.”

The 36-time ATP Masters 1000 winner will begin his run against Italian Fabio Fognini (8-0) or Hungarian Marton Fucsovics (3-0). But Djokovic knows that he will not just have to deal with tough opponents. This is his first event since his disappointing defeat at Flushing Meadows, where he fell one victory short of completing the Grand Slam.

“I have learned over the years to deal with losses in such way that I treat them as great opportunities for growth. I feel that the US Open loss in the final has arrived arguably at the worst or at the best time for me, in a way,” Djokovic said. “Of course I’m disappointed that I lost the match, but I feel like I was blessed to experience love from the crowd and support from the stadium that I have never experienced before in my life in New York, and actually not in many places around the world.

“That kind of energy that I received from the crowd from the moment I stepped on the court until I stepped out is a win for life.”

As tough as that defeat was, Djokovic is trying to take the positives from it. Not only did he win the year’s first three majors, but the loss also taught him lessons from which he feels he can get better.

“In a most ideal scenario, I would [have won all] four of them. But knowing I was so close gives me great encouragement for the future, but it also makes me feel humble about my game, about my career,” Djokovic said. “It gives me a kind of reality check where I have to go back to the practice court and really understand what needs to be done so that I could improve.”

Djokovic added that he has learned to deal with losses and grow from them. And he hopes that is the case again on this occasion as he attempts to finish his year on a high in Paris and at the Nitto ATP Finals in Turin.

“This was not an ordinary loss considering the circumstances,” Djokovic said. “The season was very draining for me and demanding in every aspect, but I have had similar situations before where I was just super tired, but somehow managed to find the strength and finish the year and finish the season strong. Hopefully that will be the case again.”

Did You Know?
While the 2021 year-end FedEx ATP Rankings will continue to potentially include some results from 2019 and 2020 in a player’s rankings breakdown under the “best of” rankings system due to COVID-19, the 2021 year-end No. 1 will be based off 2021 results alone (i.e., the FedEx ATP Race To Turin) and will continue until the end of the Nitto ATP Finals. This will ensure that the No. 1 accolade accurately reflects the world’s best performer of the 2021 calendar season.

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Title No. 20 For Marin! Cilic Wins In St. Petersburg

  • Posted: Oct 31, 2021

Marin Cilic put himself in elite company by winning the St. Petersburg Open on Sunday.

The Croatian, who defeated American Taylor Fritz 7-6 (3), 4-6, 6-4 to lift the trophy, became just the sixth active player to claim 20 tour-level titles. The only other men who have achieved the feat are Roger Federer (103), Rafael Nadal (88), Novak Djokovic (85), Andy Murray 46) and Juan Martin del Potro (22).

The last time Cilic competed in St. Petersburg before this week was in 2011, when he also emerged victorious. This was his fourth title in Russia, having also earned the crown in Moscow twice (2014-15).

Last week, the former World No. 3 fell one win short of triumphing in Moscow. And it appeared after letting slip a set-and-a-break advantage that he might lose another final in Russia.

But Cilic never stopped fighting, and he rallied from a break down in the deciding set to win after two hours and 23 minutes. The 33-year-old hit 12 aces and won 78 per cent of his first-serve points in his victory.

For much of the match, Cilic was the more aggressive player, and that allowed him to control rallies against Fritz. But on the two occasions he led by a break in the second set, the World No. 35 began misfiring with his forehand, allowing the American back into the match.

Fritz stormed ahead in the decider, using his power and depth to maintain the momentum. But he was unable to finish the job. After getting back on serve, Cilic took advantage of a Fritz double fault on break point at 4-4 to move ahead. And this time, the Croatian did not let slip his opportunity, putting away a forehand volley on championship point before leaping into the air with a big fist pump.

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Zverev Downs Tiafoe For Vienna Crown

  • Posted: Oct 31, 2021

Alexander Zverev maintained his dominant form since Wimbledon on Sunday at the Erste Bank Open, overcoming American Frances Tiafoe 7-5, 6-4 to clinch his fifth trophy of the year.

The second seed, who moved past #NextGenATP stars Felix Auger-Aliassime and Carlos Alcaraz en route to the final, won 80 per cent (37/46) of his first-serve points and stepped inside the baseline to dictate on his forehand against Tiafoe, securing his victory in one hour and 36 minutes.

“He didn’t let me play the way I wanted to play, tactically he was very good,” Zverev said. “But I am happy with the win and I am happy with my fifth title of the year and I am happy with my first in Vienna, so it was a good day.”


The German now holds a 25-2 record since Wimbledon and has extended his ATP Head2Head series lead against Tiafoe to 6-1. The 24-year-old earned his 300th tour-level career win against Australian Alex de Minaur this week.

“I think the Olympics gave me a lot of confidence and I believe I can compete for any title that I play in,” Zverev added. “I am happy with the form I am in but I have got two more massive weeks ahead of me and I hope I can do well.”

Earlier this season, Zverev triumphed at ATP Masters 1000 events in Madrid and Cincinnati and also won the singles gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics. Zverev has won all five finals that he has competed in this year. The only other time the World No. 4 won five tour-level crowns in a season was in 2017.

In a lively start, breaks the players exchanged breaks as they tried to find their rhythm from the baseline. Zverev looked to stay close to the baseline and overpower Tiafoe, while the American played with great variety and closed the net effectively to cause the 24-year-old problems.

After Zverev found the breakthrough in the 12th game of the first set to move ahead, he continued to play aggressively. The German hit eight aces in the second set to secure his victory in an entertaining match.

Tiafoe rallied from a set and 2-5 down against Italian Jannik Sinner to book his spot in the championship match but was unable to come back against Zverev. The World No. 49 has earned a career-best 29 tour-level victories this season and was aiming to win his first tour-level trophy since triumphing in Delray Beach in 2018.

“I knew I was capable of a week like this,” Tiafoe said. “It is not easy to beat good player after good player. These guys are so good. To have a week like this and know you can do it and not just beat one top player but three great guys is great.”

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