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Rublev clinches Nitto ATP Finals spot, hopes for Fritz and Ruud take a hit

Andrey Rublev officially clinched a place in the 2023 Nitto ATP Finals when he beat Matteo Arnaldi 7-5, 6-3 in round two of the Erste Bank Open on Thursday.

By earning a spot in the quarterfinals of the ATP 500 event, Rublev became the fifth man to qualify for Turin. He joins Novak Djokovic, Carlos Alcaraz, Daniil Medvedev, and Jannik Sinner in the prestigious year-end championship field. It will be the 26-year-old Russian’s fourth consecutive appearance.

“It feels great,” Rublev commented. “It’s great news. After the match I didn’t know that if I would win the match I would qualify for sure, so I didn’t know that. It’s a great feeling; great news. (I’m) looking forward (to it) and happy to be part of the Nitto ATP Finals for one more year.”

Ranked fifth in the world, Rublev’s season is highlighted by his first-ever Masters 1000 title in Monte-Carlo in addition to a triumph in Bastad and runner-up showings in Dubai, Banja Luka, Halle, and Shanghai. He also advanced to major quarterfinals at the Australian Open, Wimbledon, and U.S. Open.

Meanwhile, the Turin bids of Taylor Fritz and Casper Ruud were damaged on Thursday. At the Swiss Indoors Basel, Fritz lost to Alexander Shevchenko in a third-set tiebreaker and Ruud fell in the exact same fashion at the hands of Dominic Stricker.

Fritz is currently ninth in the 2023 race; Ruud is 11th.

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