Novak Djokovic v Hubert Hurkacz
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Novak Djokovic is aiming to bounce back from a loss and book a place in the ATP Finals semis, while Hubert Hurkacz gets a dead-rubber opportunity in Turin after coming in as an alternate for the injured Stefanos Tsitsipas.
World No.1 Djokovic outlasted Holger Rune 7-6 6-7 6-3 in his opening assignment, before losing a barnburner to Jannik Sinner 7-5 6-7 7-6. It was just Djokovic’s second loss in almost six months. The other was the Wimbledon final.
Hurkacz charged back into the top 10 with some excellent recent hard-court form, winning the Shanghai Masters and reaching the Swiss Indoors final. His last outing was at the Paris Masters, where he lost to Grigor Dimitrov in the quarter-finals.
The head-to-head makes for grim reading for Hurkacz, losing all six previous showdowns with Djokovic. Two of those defeats occurred this season – a straight-sets loss in the Dubai Championships quarters and a four-set loss in Wimbledon’s Round of 16.
The latter result will have given him some confidence, edged in two tight tiebreaks.
Djokovic has every right to be leg-weary after two lengthy encounters already this week. But when the going gets tough, the incomparable 36-year-old habitually finds another level. He’s a six-time winner of the ATP Finals – including in 2022 – and should maintain his perfect record against Hurkacz.
Jannik Sinner v Holger Rune
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Jannik Sinner has one foot in the ATP Finals semis door, but he’ll be aiming to make sure of it with a maiden win over Holger Rune.
Rune has had the better of the budding rivalry between the young guns, winning both encounters so far. He won 5-7 6-4 5-2 ret in the 2022 Sofia Open semis and beat Sinner 1-6 7-5 7-5 in the Monte Carlo Masters semis earlier this year.
Rune kicked off the week in Turin with a spirited 6-7 7-6 3-6 loss to Novak Djokovic. He picked up a win in his second clash with Stefanos Tsitsipas retired just three games in.
The 20-year-old Dane had rediscovered some elusive form in the lead-up to the ATP Finals with a semi-final run at the Swiss Indoors and a quarter-final appearance at the Paris Masters, but he’s yet to pick up any genuine scalps of note since he beat Djokovic and Casper Ruud at the Rome Masters.
World No.4 Sinner has continued the form that carried him to the China Open and Vienna Open titles over the past six weeks. After disposing of Tsitsipas 6-4 6-4, the 22-year-old outlasted Djokovic 7-5 6-7 7-6.
It was Sinner’s first win over the legend and one of the most memorable displays of his career to date. The Italian crowd is right behind him, providing another edge in this fascinating battle of the tyros. But Rune will be desperate – and fresher. Expect a long and absorbing duel.