The competition for the three remaining singles spots at the Nitto ATP Finals was already tight, and it heated up further on Sunday when Jannik Sinner won the European Open in Antwerp.
The Italian on Monday will climb to 10th in the FedEx ATP Race To Turin with 2,845 points, moving him to within 110 points of ninth-placed Hubert Hurkacz (2,955). The Polish star holds the final qualifying position for the season finale, since eighth-placed Rafael Nadal’s season is over due to a foot injury.
“Of course it’s [on] your mind trying to go there. I would be lying if it wasn’t like that,” Sinner said. “Every player feels pressure, but when you go on court you have to try to think about the match, your tactics against different players. I think this is the way to not think about Turin and all the other stuff.”
Sinner, who won the 2019 Intesa Sanpaolo Next Gen ATP Finals in Milan, is trying to qualify for the year-end championships in front of his home crowd. But instead of worrying about the pressure on him to get there, he is taking the challenge in stride and viewing it as a positive.
“Honestly, I love to play tennis, and this is the reason why I play,” Sinner said. “Obviously you would like to go to Turin or you want to win this match or that point, but sometimes it happens and sometimes it doesn’t happen. You have to accept that. Honestly, I just try to play tennis.”
Current FedEx ATP Race To Turin (Nos. 6-13)
|6th) Matteo Berrettini||4,000|
|7th) Casper Ruud||3,015|
|8th) Rafael Nadal*||2,985|
|9th) Hubert Hurkacz||2,955|
|10th) Jannik Sinner||2,845|
|11th) Cameron Norrie||2,795|
|12th) Felix Auger-Aliassime||2,330|
|13th) Aslan Karatsev||2,280|
*Out for rest of 2021 due to foot injury
Sixth-placed Matteo Berrettini is in good position to qualify for the second time (4,000). After the Italian, only 220 points separate seventh-placed Casper Ruud (3,015) and 11th-placed Cameron Norrie (2,795) in the Race, making every match critical. The sixth through 12th players in the Race — with the exception of eighth-placed Nadal — are all competing this week in the Erste Bank Open, an ATP 500 event. Ruud and Sinner could meet in a crucial showdown in the quarter-finals if they both advance that far.
Although he still has ground to make up, Aslan Karatsev boosted his Race hopes on Sunday by capturing the VTB Kremlin Cup trophy. The 13th-placed Russian now has 2,280 points and is within 675 points of Hurkacz.
Karatsev, who also triumphed in Dubai earlier in the year, can further climb the standings this week at the St. Petersburg Open, where he is the fourth seed.
The five singles players who have guaranteed their spots in Turin are Novak Djokovic, Daniil Medvedev, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Alexander Zverev and Andrey Rublev.