Hubert Hurkacz defeat opens door for other ATP Finals hopefuls
Hubert Hurkacz occupies the final qualifying spot for the ATP Finals, but his first round exit in Vienna hands his rivals the initiative.
With a maiden Masters 1000 title at the Miami Open in March, plus two more trophies in Florida and Metz, the Pole has put himself in prime position to qualify for the ATP Finals for the first time.
But after losing to Andy Murray in the opening round of the ATP 500 Vienna Open, the world number 10 piles more pressure on himself.
Hurkacz is ninth in the points race to qualify for Turin. However, with Rafael Nadal out for the rest of 2021, that finish would see him make the event.
The race to qualify is extremely tight. With two spots remaining, Hurkacz leads Jannik Sinner in 10th and Cameron Norrie in 11th by just 110 and 115 ranking points respectively.
Both Sinner and Norrie are also competing in Vienna, with both coming into the event in formidable form.
Sinner claimed a fifth career ATP Title in Antwerp immediately before Vienna. Meanwhile, Norrie takes the court for the first time since his Indian Wells triumph.
Should either man reach the semi-finals in Austria, they would overtake Hurkacz in the race to fill the final spot.
After Vienna, just two tournaments remain before the Finals where points can be claimed. Those are the Paris Masters (Masters 1000) and Stockholm Open (ATP 250).
Even if Sinner or Norrie only reach the quarter-finals in Vienna, they would then trail Hurkacz by just 20 and 25 ranking points respectively in the race to Turin.
Jannik Sinner faces Canadian Masters finalist Reilly Opelka first in Vienna, as Norrie takes on Hungarian Marton Fucsovics.
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