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ATP Race to London Update

Who has already qualified for the ATP Finals, and who is in position to claim the remaining spots?



With the ATP Finals in London just six weeks away, half of the eight qualifying spots for the singles event have already been secured.  But with two Masters 1,000 events and four 500-level events left to be played, there are a lot of points at stake for the players competing for the remaining spots.


Here’s a look at the current year-to-date standings heading into the China and Japan Opens this week, starting with the players that have already officially qualified for the WTA Finals and the points they’ve accumulated this year (their 2019 titles are in parenthesis).

1) Rafael Nadal, 9,225 points (Roland Garros, US Open, Rome, Montreal)

2) Novak Djokovic, 7,265 points (Australian Open, Wimbledon, Madrid)

3) Roger Federer, 5,510 points (Miami, Dubai, Halle)

4) Daniil Medvedev, 4,875 points (Cincinnati, Sofia, St. Petersburg)

The following players have not officially qualified, but most likely will, as accumulating more than 3,000 points is usually enough.

5) Dominic Thiem, 3,845 points (Indian Wells, Barcelona, Kitzbuhel)

6) Stefanos Tsitsipas, 3,160 points (Marseille, Estoril)

If none of these six players withdraw from the ATP Finals, that leaves just two spots open.  However, with Nadal, Djokovic, Federer, and Tsitsipas all battling injuries of late, there’s a good chance that not all of them will compete in London, which would open up some extra space.  After the top six in the race, there are six players separated by just 315 points. Here’s a look at those players, their current form, and their chances of qualifying.

7) Roberto Bautista Agut, 2,395 points (Doha) – It’s been a career year for the Spaniard, who finds himself inside the top 10 for the first time in his career.  His 2019 was strong right from the start, defeating Novak Djokovic in his way to the Doha title in the first week of the season.  He then made the quarter-finals of the Australian Open with three five-set victories. And Roberto would reach his first Major semifinal at Wimbledon.  And he’s still playing well, having reached the semis this past week in Zhuhai. Knowing he’s currently in qualifying position to make his ATP Finals debut, can he maintain his form and hold off the competition?

8) Matteo Berrettini, 2,185 points (Budapest, Stuttgart) – The 23-year-old Italian is currently in the eighth and final qualifying position, boosted by his recent run to his first Major semifinal in New York.  This is new territory for Berrettini, who a year ago was ranked outside the top 50. With four players nipping at his heels, with 105 points or less separating the players ranked from eighth to 12th in the race, Matteo can ill afford a let-down if he wants to make his ATP Finals debut.  In the opening round of Beijing this week, he has a challenging opponent by the name of Sir Andy Murray.

9) Kei Nishikori, 2,180 points (Brisbane) – Nishikori is only five points outside the top eight in the race, but that will change quickly as Kei has pulled out of the Japan Open and Shanghai Masters due to right arm and elbow issues.  He plans to return later in October, and will likely need at least a few match wins in Vienna and Paris in order to move into qualifying position.

10) Gael Monfils, 2,125 points (Rotterdam) – Here’s a bizarre yet true statement: Monfils has been one of 2019’s most consistent performers.  He’s reached the quarter-finals or better at eight events this season. He’s vying to qualify for the ATP Finals for the second time.  In the first round of Beijing, he faces a man who is rarely fun to play: John Isner.

11) Sascha Zverev, 2,120 points (Geneva) – It’s been a tough season for the ATP Finals champion of a year ago, filled with off-court distractions.  Much like the reigning WTA Finals champion Elina Svitolina, he’s in danger of missing this year’s event as the defending champion.  But perhaps clinching the Team Europe victory at the Laver Cup for the second straight year will be exactly what he needs to get him back on track.   Zverev gets Frances Tiafoe in the opening round of Beijing, whom he defeated in five sets at the US Open.

12) David Goffin, 2,080 points – Two years ago, Goffin was the runner-up at the ATP Finals, and defeated both Nadal and Federer on his way to the final.  However, since a few freak injuries in 2018, David has struggled to rediscover his form. Goffin is playing in Tokyo this week, and takes on Pablo Carreno Busta in his first round match.

Beyond those current top 12, there’s Fabio Fognini (1,965 points) and Diego Schwartzman (1,850 points) who are both within striking distance with one good run this fall.  The next two weeks will go a long way in determining who goes to London, with two 500-level events this week (Beijing and Tokyo) and the Shanghai Masters next week.  And the only two legitimate threats to end the year as world No.1 are Nadal and Djokovic. Considering Rafa’s 2,000-point lead, and the shoulder injury Novak has been nursing, Nadal is the favorite to claim his fifth year-end crown.  This would tie him with both Djokovic and Federer in that category, further muddying the GOAT argument waters.


Ugo Humbert claims the first title of his career after winning all-French final against Benoit Paire in Auckland



Twenty-one year-old Ugo Humbert beat Benoit Paire 7-6 (7-2) 3-6 7-6 (7-5) after 2 hours and 34 minutes in the all-French final of the ASB Classic in Auckland to claim the first title of his career.


Humbert has become the first French player to win the Auckland tournament. He enjoyed a great week beating Denis Shapovalov and John Isner en route to reaching the final.

Humbert earned the first break of the match in the second game after a double fault from Paire and held his serve with a service winner in the next game to open up a 3-0 lead. Paire broke back in the fifth game with a backand return winner. Humbert broke serve again in the sixth game to take a 4-2 lead. Paire broke back in the seventh game to claw his way back to 3-4. Humbert earned three set points, when Paire was serving at 5-6. Humbert reeled off five consecutive points from 2-2 to claim the tie-break with three mini-break after a forehand error from Paire.

Paire fended off three break points in the third game of the second set before breaking serve in the fourth game after a double fault from Humbert. Paire saved a break point at 5-3 with an ace and closed out the second set with a backhand down the line winner.

Humbert earned an early break in the second game of the decider with a backhand crosscourt passing shot, before saving three break points at 4-2. Paire hit three consecutive backhand winners, as Humbert was serving for the match at 5-3 30-0. Paire got the crucial break in the next point, when Humbert sent a forehand long. Paire saved a championship point with a backhand volley winner in the 10th game. Paire held his serve with a backhand volley winner to draw level to 5-5. Paire rallied from 0-30 down in the 12th game to force the decisive set to the tie-break.

Humbert earned a mini-break on the sixth point with a forehand return to take a 4-2 lead and earned three championship points at 6-3. Humbert sealed the win on his third chance when Paire sent a backhand wide after 2 hours and 35 minutes.

“It’s a tournament of revenge because I have lost to four of five players I played this week. It’s a great improvement for me and I could not dream of a beginning for the season”, said Humbert.

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Andrey Rublev starts the year with back-to-back titles in Doha and Adelaide



Andrey Rublev beat South Africa’s Lloyd Harris 6-3 6-0 to clinch the fourth title of his career at the first edition of the Adelaide International and his second title of the 2020 season one week after beating Corentin Moutet in Doha. Rublev saved all four break points he faced. He has extended his winning streak to 12 consecutive matches.


Rublev has become the first player to win back-to-back titles in the first two weeks of the year since 2004, when Dominik Hrbary triumphed in Adelaide and Auckland.

“I was not thinking about this statistic, but it’s an amazing feeling. I hope I keep improving. We will see what’s going to happen”, said Rublev.

Rublev earned the first break of the match in the sixth game to take a 4-2 lead. The 22-year-old Russian player rallied from 0-40 down to hold serve for 5-2 in the seventh game and served out the first set 6-3 two games later.

Rublev started the second set with his second break in the first game. He got two more breaks before clinching the win on his first match point, when he forced Harris to a backhand error with a short volley.

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Benoit Paire sets up all-French final against Ugo Humbert in Auckland



Benoit Paire battled past Hubert Hurkacz 6-4 6-7 (1-7) 6-2 with six breaks of serve to his ninth career ATP Tour final at the ASB Classic in Auckland.


Paire went up a double break in the first and seventh games to build up a 5-2 lead. Hurkacz pulled a break back after two double faults after two double faults from Paire. The Frenchman served out at love in the 10th game.

Paire went up a break at 15 in the fifth game to take a 3-2 lead. Hurkacz broke back at love to draw level to 3-3. Both players held on their next service games setting up a tie-break. Hurkacz cruised through to winning the tie-break 7-1.

After a trade of breaks at the start of the third set Paire broke twice in the fourth and eighth games to seal the decider 6-2.

“It was not easy. Not everything was perfect, but it is never easy against Hubert. He is a very good player and a tough opponent. I hope tomorrow will be better and I hope to enjoy the final”,said Paire.

Paire sets up an all-French final against his compatriot Ugo Humbert, who edged past John Isner 7-6 (7-5) 6-4. Humbert has reached the maiden final of his career after losing in the semifinal in Marseille, Newport and Antwerp in 2019.

Humbert and Isner went on serve with no breaks to set up a tie-break. Isner saved two set points from 3-6 but Humbert won the tie-break 7-5. Humbert started the second set with an early break to take a 1-0 lead. Isner saved five break points and held his serve at deuce, but Humbert won his final two service games at love to clinch the second set 6-4.

“I am really happy about this win. It was a great match. I returned very well and I played good on the key points. I am really happy to reach my first final”,said Humbert.



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