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Djokovic advances to ATP Finals after Sinner victory


Jannik Sinner has beaten Holger Rune to maintain his 100 per cent record at the ATP Finals and send Novak Djokovic through to the last four alongside him.

The world No.1 was left waiting to find out whether he had made it after defeating Hubert Hurkacz 7-6 (7-1) 4-6 6-1 in the earlier match.

The scoreline guaranteed Sinner a place in the semi-finals - the first Italian to do so at the prestigious tournament - and meant any win for Rune would be enough to put him through ahead of defending champion Djokovic.

However, Sinner again proved just too strong on home soil in Turin, following up his brilliant victory over Djokovic on Tuesday with a 6-2 5-7 6-4 win against the young Dane.

Sinner was untouchable at the start, winning the opening four games before Rune got into the match.

The second set was much tighter and there were physical concerns for both men, with Rune calling the trainer to have strapping applied under his right knee before Sinner appeared to tweak his back.

When Sinner dropped serve to lose the second set, the contest was fully in the balance and it remained that way through the decider until the fourth seed broke through to lead 5-4 and served out a first career win over Rune.

"I bounced back in the third set just like I did against Nole," Sinner said. "This victory means a lot, coming back after such a big match with so many emotions. But I was still able to win the big points."

Sinner is already up to No.4 in the rankings - the highest an Italian man has risen since Adriano Panatta nearly a half-century ago.

But having also beaten No.3 Daniil Medvedev in their last two meetings, and also with wins over No.2 Carlos Alcaraz, the red-headed Sinner clearly has designs on moving up even further.

"I think he's going to reach the No.1 in 2024 or he's going to give himself the chance to reach the No.1," Alcaraz said on Wednesday.

Hurkacz replaced the injured Stefanos Tsitsipas and knew going into his clash against Djokovic he was not able to progress but, with 200 ranking points and hundreds of thousands of prize money on the table, there was still plenty to play for.

A very tight first set went the way of Djokovic thanks to a flawless tie-break, but Hurkacz, who had lost all six previous matches against the Serbian, broke serve in the fifth game of the second and held his advantage to level the match before his opponent dominated the decider.

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

Djokovic, meanwhile, welcomed the positive update from Rafael Nadal regarding his fitness.

The Spaniard has been sidelined for almost a year after suffering a hip injury at the Australian Open and his future had appeared in the balance.

Nadal confirmed on Wednesday he will return next season, and Djokovic said: "He's a big warrior. He's somebody that really never gives up.

"With all the injuries that he had, keeps going. That's definitely something that you have to respect and admire about him and his spirit. For the world of tennis, no doubt that it's amazing news that he'll be back."