Top favorite Novak Djokovic no longer has his fate in his own hands at the ATP Finals in Turin. The world number one from Serbia defeated the Polish runner-up Hubert Hurkacz 7-6 (7-1), 4-6, 6-1 in his last group match, but needs help to reach the semi-finals.
The six-time final winner Djokovic will only advance if Jannik Sinner defeats Boris Becker's protégé Holger Rune (Denmark) in the Green Group in the evening. Sinner, however, is already in the round of the best four, which no Italian had managed before.
"I lost a set. That's normal," Djokovic said tight-lipped after the match. In the event of a two-set victory, however, the starting position would have been much better for him.
Djokovic initially had problems with the serve of Hurkacz, who had replaced the injured Stefanos Tsitsipas (Greece), but kept his nerve in the tiebreak of the first set. The 36-year-old gave up the second round, after breaks to 3: 1 as well as 5: 1 and 2:04 hours of play, Grand Slam record winner Djokovic converted his first match point.
Olympic champion Alexander Zverev, who won the tournament in 2018 and 2021, must also hope for support to reach the semifinals. After a win and a defeat on Friday evening against the Russian Andrey Rublev, the Hamburg native needs a win of his own as well as a success of Daniil Medvedev (Russia) against Wimbledon winner Carlos Alcaraz (Spain) to move into the semi-finals.