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Novak Djokovic wins, needs help to advance at ATP Finals

Novak Djokovic wins, needs help to advance at ATP Finals

TURIN, Italy — Novak Djokovic bounced back from his first loss in four months with a 7-6 (1), 4-6, 6-1 win over alternate Hubert Hurkacz in his final group match at the ATP Finals on Thursday.

Djokovic now needs to hope Jannik Sinner beats Holger Rune later so he can advance to the semifinals of the season-ending tournament for the year’s top eight players.

“My kids are arriving arriving tonight, so I don’t think I’ll watch,” Djokovic said. “I did my job and I’m going to spend tonight with the family. Then tomorrow I can worry about whether I qualified or not.”

Since Hurkacz took a set off Djokovic, Sinner was assured of advancing.

Djokovic was beaten in three long sets by Sinner in his previous match — the 24-time Grand Slam champion’s first loss since falling to Carlos Alcaraz in the Wimbledon final in July. In his opening match, Djokovic beat Rune to secure the year-end No. 1 ranking for a record-extending eighth time.

The ninth-ranked Hurkacz replaced Stefanos Tsitsipas, who withdrew with a lower back injury after playing only three games of his match against Rune on Tuesday.

Djokovic appeared frustrated early on when he had no answer to Hurkacz’s big serve, but then his Polish opponent made a few errors and Djokovic won 10 straight points to jump out to a big lead in the tiebreaker.

Djokovic double-faulted to hand Hurkacz a break and a 3-2 lead in the second. Then Hurkacz saved two break points with aces a couple of games later and continued to hold to close out the set as the pro-Sinner crowd chanted “Hu-bi, Hu-bi.”

Hurkacz served routinely at 140 mph and cranked out 24 aces to Djokovic’s six. But Djokovic broke to take control midway through the third and improved to 7-0 in his career against Hurkacz.

“He’s got one of the biggest serves in world,” Djokovic said. “It’s very, very tough to return, especially here at an altitude of nearly 300 meters (1,000 feet). … I was waiting for chances when he missed his first serve — that was my only chance.”

Sinner and Djokovic have two wins each, Rune has one win and Hurkacz and Tsitsipas have none.

In the other group, Daniil Medvedev has already advanced with two wins. Alcaraz and Alexander Zverev have one win each and Andrey Rublev is winless.

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