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Fritz, Hurkacz lose at Paris Masters to lock in Turin field with Auger-Aliassime, Rublev

Unsurprisingly, there turned out to be little Nitto ATP Finals suspense at the Rolex Paris Masters.

With both Felix Auger-Aliassime and Andrey Rublev still in the tournament and already in qualifying position with plenty of room to spare, Taylor Fritz and Hubert Hurkacz would have had to win the Paris title to steal a Turin spot.

Neither came close to making it happen.

Both Fritz and Hurkacz lost when second-round action wrapped up on Wednesday (it actually came to an end on Thursday morning, as Corentin Moutet beat Cameron Norrie at 3:04 am). Fritz’s year-end championship hopes were halted by none other than Gilles Simon, an improbable round-of-16 entrant who is playing the final tournament of his career. Simon outlasted the 10th-ranked American 7-5, 5-7, 6-4 after three hours and five minutes. Hurkacz, who made a Turin appearance last fall, succumbed to in-form Danish teenager Holger Rune 7-5, 6-1.

With those results, Auger-Aliassime and Rublev clinched their places in the prestigious field of eight. They will be joined by Carlos Alcaraz, Rafael Nadal, Casper Ruud, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Daniil Medvedev, and Novak Djokovic. Six of the eight Turin participants are still in Paris; only Nadal and Medvedev were upset by Tommy Paul and Alex de Minaur, respectively, on Wednesday.

Despite Nadal’s disappointing performance in a 3-6, 7-6(4), 6-1 setback against Paul, the 22-time Grand Slam champion insisted that he will play the Nitto ATP Finals.

“I’m excited about playing (in Turin) even if it hasn’t been the perfect couple of months for me, of course,” Nadal assured. “But, yeah, (I have) nothing to lose. After a good year, (I will be) going there, just trying my best.

“At the end, I need days on the tour. It’s true that for the last five months I didn’t spend enough days on the tour. I don’t even say competing on a tennis court; I say on the tour, practicing with the guys. That’s what I need. I am going to try–of nothing happens, if I am feeling okay–to be there a little bit earlier than usual and have some practices. 

“(I want to) just give myself a chance to enjoy another finals. You never know when is going to be the last, especially at my age. So I’m going to give my best to enjoy this one, and then the next years, of course, I’m going to fight to be back there.”