05:25 PM GMT February 21, 2021
Six weeks into the 2021 season and three Italians have already laid down early markers for a spot at the Nitto ATP Finals, which will be held at the Pala Alpitour in Turin from 14-21 November.
Matteo Berrettini, who joined forces with Fabio Fognini to lead Italy into the ATP Cup final (l. to Russia), sits in sixth position on 495 points in the FedEx ATP Race To Turin. Berrettini, who made his Nitto ATP Finals debut in 2019, has a 6-1 match record this year after a run to the Australian Open fourth round.
Fognini, who lost to Rafael Nadal (360 points) in the fourth round at Melbourne Park, will be hoping to delight Italian fans by securing his first singles qualification at the season finale. The 33-year-old Fognini, who partnered Simone Bolelli in the 2015 doubles competition at The O2 in London, sits in ninth place (380 points).
Jannik Sinner also got his 2021 campaign off to a strong start by earning his second ATP Tour trophy at the Great Ocean Road Open (d. Travaglia) prior to the hard-court major championship. The 19-year-old #NextGenATP star, who captured the 2019 Next Gen ATP Finals trophy in Milan, is currently tied in 14th position with 260 points.
The 2021 FedEx ATP Race To Turin already has a familiar feel with eight of the Top 12 positions filled with former Nitto ATP Finals participants.
While Novak Djokovic, defending champion Daniil Medvedev and Stefanos Tsitsipas currently hold the top three spots, Aslan Karatsev, who qualified for the Australian Open and reached the semi-finals (l. to Djokovic), has jumped 325 places to fourth position on 745 points. The 27-year-old Russian is just 75 points ahead of his ATP Cup team mate, Andrey Rublev (670 points), who lost to compatriot Medvedev in the quarter-finals at Melbourne Park.
The 22-year-old Australian Alex de Minaur, who captured his fourth ATP Tour title at the Antalya Open (d. Bublik) in the first week of 2021, and 20-year-old #NextGenATP Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime, who advanced to the Australian Open fourth round (l. to Karatsev) after a runner-up finish at the Murray River Open (l. to Evans), are placed 11th and 12th respectively.
Medvedev, who beat Dominic Thiem for the 2020 Nitto ATP Finals crown, is currently 440 points behind five-time former titlist Djokovic (2,140 points). World No. 1 Djokovic ended Medvedev’s 20-match winning streak on Sunday with 7-5, 6-2, 6-2 victory for his ninth Australian Open title.
They are joined in the Top 10 of the FedEx ATP Race To Turin by three other former champions: third-placed Greek Tsitsipas (2019), who lost to Medvedev in the semi-finals at Melbourne Park, No. 7-placed German Alexander Zverev (2018) and No. 8-placed Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov (2017), who both reached the last eight at the hard-court major.
Did You Know?
The top seven players in the FedEx ATP Race To Turin after the Rolex Paris Masters on 8 November 2021 qualify for the Nitto ATP Finals. If there is one current-year Grand Slam champion positioned between No. 8 and No. 20 in the Race, he qualifies in eighth place. If there are two current-year Grand Slam champions positioned between No. 8 and No. 20 in the Race, the highest-placed of those players becomes the eighth and final qualifier; the lower-placed Grand Slam champion will serve as the alternate. If there are no current-year Grand Slam champions positioned between No. 8 and No. 20, then the player at No. 8 in the Race will claim the eighth and final berth.