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Rublev, Auger-Aliassime boost Nitto ATP Finals chances with ATP titles on Sunday

Andrey Rublev captured his fourth title of the year at the Gijon, Spain. (Photo by Mateo Villalba/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images)

By Ricky Dimon

Andrey Rublev was already in great shape to secure a spot in the Nitto ATP Finals even before the week began. Now he can just about book his plane flight to Turin after capturing the Gijon Open title on Sunday afternoon. Although it nets him only 250 points, Rublev’s lead over ninth-place Taylor Fritz is 555 points with only three weeks remaining in the regular season.

Fritz is actually eighth in the race, but No. 10 Novak Djokovic has already clinched a berth because of his Grand Slam triumph at Wimbledon. The 24-year-old American briefly moved into Turin position with his 500-point title last week in Tokyo, but Felix Auger-Aliassime passed him back by lifting the Firenze Open trophy on Sunday.

Auger-Aliassime is now 180 points ahead of Fritz for the last spot in the year-end champion following his 6-4, 6-4 defeat of J.J. Wolf in the Florence final.

“The plan right now is to play every week–to play in Antwerp, Basel, and Paris because there are still tournaments to play and the race is very close,” said the Canadian, who won his second title of the season and second of his career. “There are players like Taylor and Andrey, and many others are competing hard right now to try and qualify. So I’m going to try to put myself in the best position possible to try and make it to Turin.”

“Winning….always feels like the first time. It’s so special to win, especially here. I had a fantastic week. It’s been amazing.”

Felix Auger-Aliassime. EPA-EFE/MICK TSIKAS

Just as Auger-Alassime mostly dominated all week long in Florence, Rublev was in similar control in Gijon. Each man dropped just one set en route to his respective title (Auger-Aliassime to Oscar Otte and Rublev to Ilya Ivashka). The Russian rolled over Sebastian Korda 6-2, 6-3 without getting broken a single time.

“I am really happy and really grateful,” Rublev reflected. “To win a title is always a special feeling because all the players are working to win a title and play the best tournaments. To win one more title here in my career is really important for me. All the weeks are important for me because I am fighting for the Finals.”

There is still more work to be done, but Rublev’s fight is almost complete.

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