Novak Djokovic beats Hubert Hurkacz but ATP Finals progress not guaranteed

Novak Djokovic defeated Hubert Hurkacz in his final round-robin match at the ATP Finals but must wait to see if he qualifies for the last four.

The defending champion bounced back from Tuesday’s loss to Jannik Sinner to see off Hurkacz, a replacement for the injured Stefanos Tsitsipas, 7-6 (1) 4-6 6-1.

However, by dropping a set, Djokovic put the ball in Holger Rune’s court, with the Dane now knowing that victory over Sinner on Thursday evening would send him through and eliminate the world number one.

Sinner, meanwhile, is guaranteed to become the first Italian to make the semi-finals at the prestigious tournament irrespective of the result of his final group match.

Hurkacz knew going into the match that he was not able to progress but, with 200 ranking points and more than £300,000 in 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.

Djokovic dominated the decider but he is now relying on Sinner to do him a favour.

He insisted he is ready to accept what comes, telling reporters in Turin of Sinner: “No, I will not be his fan. If he wins, I’ll qualify. If he doesn’t, I’ll still finish the season with a win and look to Davis Cup. That’s all I feel now.”

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.”