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Medvedev, Tsitsipas Join Djokovic in Nitto ATP Tennis Finals, Plenty of Spots Still up for Grabs

Daniil Medvedev hits a return to Novak Djokovic during their men’s final match on the fourteenth day of the US Open. EPA-EFE/JUSTIN LANE.

By Ricky Dimon

Following his first Grand Slam triumph at the U.S. Open, Daniil Medvedev will officially be able to defend his 2020 Nitto ATP Finals title. Medvedev’s victory in New York clinched a spot in the year-end championship, which was already all but guaranteed even before the biggest moment of his career.

Medvedev, who upset Novak Djokovic 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 in the U.S. Open final, lifted the ATP Finals trophy last year in London. The 2021 installment of the YEC marks its first time in Turin, Italy.

“I look forward to trying and defending my title in Turin,” Medvedev said. “Italian fans are so passionate, I am sure it will be a great event.”

Stefanos Tsitsipas also secured a spot in Turin despite losing to Carlos Alcaraz during third-round action at Flushing Meadows. Tsitsipas, the 2019 Nitto ATP Finals champion, is third in the race with 5,470 points. The Greek is 910 points behind Medvedev and 2,900 south of Djokovic.

Stefanos Tsitsipas hits a return to Andy Murray during their match on the first day of the US Open Tennis. EPA-EFE/JUSTIN LANE

“It is great to qualify for Turin so early,” Tsitsipas assured. “I can’t wait to play there. Forming incredible memories in London two years ago has been a highlight in my career.”

With five spots still available to round out the prestigious field of eight, Alexander Zverev, Andrey Rublev, and Matteo Berrettini are next in line to qualify. It would take a complete collapse in the fall and/or a surprising title by someone else at the Indian Wells Masters and/or Paris Masters for any of those three to fall short.

That leaves just two places completely up for grabs. Rafael Nadal (seventh in the race) is out for the season, which means the next four contenders are Casper Ruud, Hubert Hurkacz, Felix Auger-Aliassime, and Jannik Sinner.

Ruud (2,675 points) has captured four clay-court titles in 2021 and made back-to-back quarterfinal appearances in hard-court Masters 1000 events (Toronto and Cincinnati).

Hurkacz (2,505 points) has accrued his points in bunches. The 24-year-old Pole won the Miami Masters and reached the semifinals at Wimbledon.

Auger-Aliassime (2,320 points) is still seeking his first-ever ATP title, but a string of consistent results including a Wimbledon quarterfinal and a U.S. Open semifinal.

Felix Auger-Aliassime in action against Frances Tiafoe during their match on the seventh day of the US Open. EPA-EFE/JASON SZENES

Sinner (2,255 points) finished runner-up to Hurkacz in Miami and earned the biggest title of his career in Washington, D.C.

The chase for points resumes next week as the fall-swing gets underway with a pair of 250 tournaments in Nur-Sultan and Metz. A whole host of 250s remain on the 2021 calendar, while more significant point-grabs are available in Indian Wells, Paris, and at the Vienna 500.

Ricky contributes to 10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on twitter at @Dimonator.