Menu Nitto ATP Finals The O2, London | 15-22 NOV.
Race Update: Berrettini & Zverev Lead Battle For Final Two London Spots
Berrettini Zverev

Matteo Berrettini and Alexander Zverev are in eighth place and seventh place, respectively, in the ATP Race To London following Shanghai. © Rolex Shanghai Masters - Mike Frey

One week can change a lot on the ATP Tour, especially in the ATP Race To London. The Rolex Shanghai Masters was a perfect example of that.

Entering the year’s eighth ATP Masters 1000 tournament, Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut was in seventh in the Race, and reigning Nitto ATP Finals champion Alexander Zverev was clinging to eighth, just 20 points ahead of ninth-placed David Goffin. But a major Shanghai shakeup changed the outlook with less than a month remaining.

The first domino that fell was Stefanos Tsitsipas becoming the sixth player to qualify for the season-ending championships, leaving only two spots for the taking. Zverev and Italian Matteo Berrettini made their cases this past week.

Zverev had not made a Masters 1000 semi-final in 2019, but he found some of his best tennis, advancing to the championship match, where he fell short against red-hot Daniil Medvedev. Even so, Zverev earned 600 points to catapult him into seventh place in the Race, with room to spare.

The Race For The Final Two Spots In London (following Shanghai)

 Player  Race Points
 7. Alexander Zverev  2,855
 8. Matteo Berrettini  2,525
 9. Roberto Bautista Agut  2,485
 10. David Goffin  2,325
 11. Fabio Fognini  2,235
 12. Kei Nishikori  2,180

The 11-time ATP Tour champion leads eighth-placed Berrettini by 330 points, and ninth-placed Bautista Agut by 370 points. It was a big week for Berrettini, who reached his first Masters 1000 semi-final before losing to Zverev. The critical match for Zverev came in the quarter-finals, in which he defeated Roger Federer. Not only did that give him confidence, but if he lost to the Swiss superstar, he would be in ninth place in the Race.

“Obviously it was an important match. The head-to-head [against Federer] is obviously a great thing to have, but more importantly for me is it was a match to maybe turn my year around a little bit," Zverev said. "The Race to London is also very important.”

Even though losing in the last four kept Berrettini from leapfrogging Zverev, the Italian put himself in a qualifying position as he pushes for his first London appearance. After Shanghai last year, Berrettini was in 47th in the Race.

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With Rafael Nadal missing Shanghai due to a wrist injury, World No. 1 Novak Djokovic had an opportunity to claw closer to the Spaniard in the Race. With a title, the Serbian would have moved to within 460 points of Nadal in the battle for year-end No. 1.

But Djokovic was upset in the quarter-finals by Tsitsipas, so he only earned 180 of a possible 1,000 points he could have added to his tally this week. With no intentions to compete until the Rolex Paris Masters, that means Djokovic will need to overcome a 1,280-point deficit in the Race with only Paris and the Nitto ATP Finals remaining on his tournament schedule.

A player who did not make a big move in Shanghai is Goffin, who lost in the third round against Federer. But the Belgian, the 2017 Nitto ATP Finals runner-up, has an opportunity this week to move into eighth place in the Race regardless of anyone else’s results.

Goffin is the second seed at the European Open in Antwerp. If the home favourite wins the title, the 250 points he earns would push him past Berrettini. Eleventh-placed Fabio Fognini reached the quarter-finals in Shanghai, and he will have an opportunity to bolster his London hopes this week at the top seed at the Intrum Stockholm Open.

Other players in action this week are 13th-placed Gael Monfils and 14th-placed Diego Schwartzman, both of whom are seeded in Antwerp, and defending Moscow champion Karen Khachanov, who is 16th in the Race.

Tags: 

  • Alexander Zverev
  • 2019
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