Novak Djokovic boosted his hopes of claiming a record-equalling sixth ATP Finals title by clinching a semi-final spot with a 6-4 6-1 win over Andrey Rublev in Turin.

Having overcome Stefanos Tsitsipas in his opening red group match, Djokovic endured spells of pressure from the sixth seed throughout Wednesday's opening set before clinching the all-important break in the 10th game.

The 21-time grand slam winner found the going far easier in the second set, breaking Rublev's serve at the first opportunity before repeating the trick in the sixth game.

Djokovic's backhand was particularly impressive as he dominated proceedings from the baseline, while the Serbian won 94 per cent of points behind his first serve and did not give up a single break point during the match.

The 35-year-old only committed six unforced errors en route to his 68-minute victory, as he joined Casper Ruud in sealing a place in the final four in Turin. 

Djokovic has now won his opening two group matches in four of his last five campaigns at the ATP Finals, and he appears the strong favourite to equal Roger Federer's record of six titles at the competition.

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS

Djokovic – 12/0
Rublev – 10/1

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS

Djokovic – 19/6
Rublev – 18/17

BREAK POINTS WON

Djokovic – 3/4
Rublev – 0/0

Casper Ruud secured his place in the last four of the ATP Finals and ensured Carlos Alcaraz will be the year-ending world number one by beating Taylor Fritz on Tuesday.

Ruud made it two wins out of two in the Green Group to seal his semi-final spot with a 6-3 4-6 7-6 (8-6) defeat of Fritz in Turin.

The third seed eliminated Rafael Nadal when he won the first set and in doing so guaranteed that injured 19-year-old Alcaraz will be the youngest player to be at the top of the ATP rankings at the end of a year.

Ruud stormed into a 3-0 lead and did not allow Fritz a way back into the first set, but the American broke for the first time to level the match when his opponent was serving to stay in the second.

The battling Fritz fended off two break points in the fifth game of the deciding set and saved two match points as he fought back from 5-1 down in the tie-break to draw level at 6-6.

Norwegian Ruud was not to be denied, though, becoming the first player to reach the semi-finals when eighth seed Fritz drilled a forehand long at the Palbata Alpitour.

Fritz will do battle with Felix Auger-Aliassime on Thursday for a place in the last four.

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS

Ruud - 14/3
Fritz - 15/0

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS

Ruud - 36/4
Fritz  - 36/1

BREAK POINTS WON

Ruud - 1/5
Auger-Aliassime - 1/4

Rafael Nadal is not certain he will return to his very best form and full fitness in 2023 – but he has no doubt he will give it his very best shot.

The veteran Spaniard went down 6-3 6-4 to Felix Auger-Aliassime on Tuesday at the ATP Finals, his second defeat in the round-robin group stage and a fourth consecutive loss overall.

This season began in stunning style for Nadal as he won the Australian Open and followed that with a 14th French Open title, taking his tally of grand slams to 22 - a record haul for a male singles player.

However, Nadal has a serious ongoing foot problem, and the 36-year-old had to withdraw from Wimbledon prior to a semi-final against Nick Kyrgios after suffering a torn abdomen.

Injuries have prevented him playing a full season, and he was clearly not at his best against Auger-Aliassime, who has Nadal's uncle, Toni Nadal, on his coaching team.

Asked whether he will take an optimistic or doubtful approach into next season, Nadal said: "You can be both ways. You can be optimistic and have doubts. Why not?

"For me the doubts, as I said plenty of times, are very good in this world. People who don't have doubts, it is probably because they are too arrogant, from my point of view.

"If you are not optimistic or positive, it's impossible that things are going to go the proper way. That's my point of view and that's my approach."

He will hope to make a strong start to the new campaign in Australia, and will put in the work to give himself every chance of showing up in shape to win again.

"I just need to recover all these positive feelings and all this confidence and all this strong mentality that I need to be at the level that I want to be," Nadal said.

"And I don't know if I'm going to reach that level again. But what I don't have any doubt about is that I'm going to die for it."

He will round off his round-robin campaign against Casper Ruud in Turin on Thursday, facing the young Norwegian he crushed in the French Open final.

Once he returns to his Mallorca home, Nadal can look at what lies ahead.

"What can happen in Australia? I don't know. It's a month and a half away," Nadal said.

"What can I do to give myself a positive chance to have a good season next year? As always, be humble enough to accept that I have a challenge in front, that the last six months have been very difficult for me.

"I need to work more and I need to recover things that I lost because I was not able to practice the proper way, I was not able to compete the proper way.

"What I have to do now is come back, work hard, stay positive every single day, accept the challenge, accept that I am going to need to suffer a little bit more."

Rafael Nadal lost to Felix Auger-Aliassime for the first time as his poor run of results continued at the ATP Finals in Turin, where he looks set for a group-stage exit.

In the Green Group, Auger-Aliassime ran out a 6-3 6-4 winner over the 22-time grand slam champion, whose uncle Toni Nadal is on his opponent's coaching team.

Nadal came to Italy with a chance to snatch the year-end number one ranking from Carlos Alcaraz but needed to win this tournament, and defeats to Taylor Fritz and now Auger-Aliassime have almost quashed that prospect.

On Tuesday, the 36-year-old suffered a fourth successive singles defeat, which began with a US Open last-16 exit to Frances Tiafoe and was followed at the Paris Masters by a loss to Tommy Paul.

Auger-Aliassime was beaten in his opening match by Casper Ruud, but he came from 40-0 behind to break for a 5-3 lead in the opener of this contest, before serving out for the set comfortably enough. A break early in the second set put him on course to wrap up the match, with Nadal struggling to make an impact.

This was just a third meeting between Nadal and Auger-Aliassime on the ATP Tour, with Nadal winning both previous contests, including an epic five-set contest in the French Open fourth round in May.

The result this time, however, means Nadal has lost consecutive matches in the round-robin stage of the ATP Finals for the first time since 2011. With a 0-2 record, his only remaining hope of progress hinged on Ruud losing to Fritz later on Tuesday, which would offer Nadal a slim hope going into his final Green Group match against Ruud.

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS

Auger-Aliassime - 15/2
Nadal - 1/4

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS

Auger-Aliassime - 32/2
​Nadal - 13/4

BREAK POINTS WON

Auger-Aliassime - 2/4
​Nadal - 0/5

Andrey Rublev opened his ATP Finals campaign with a gripping 6-7 (7-9) 6-3 7-6 (9-7) success over compatriot Daniil Medvedev in Turin.

The sixth seed came from behind to beat his fellow Russian in a match lasting over two and a half hours to put himself top of the Red Group, with the pool's other two players, Novak Djokovic and Stefanos Tsitsipas, playing later on Monday.

Rublev got off to a fast start, securing a break to put himself 4-1 up in the first set. However, Medvedev saw off two set points to take it to a tie-break, before fending off five more set points on his way to taking an extraordinary opener.

World number seven Rublev hit back with two breaks in a strong second set to level the match, Medvedev not helping himself with six double faults.

Medvedev, the fourth seed, cut down the errors in a tight final set that did not see a solitary break of serve as a tie-break was required to settle an absorbing contest.

But after a remarkable final stand from Medvedev that saw him save four match points, Rublev finally got over the line make a winning start.

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS

Medvedev - 24/8

Rublev - 9/1

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS

Medvedev - 46/26

Rublev - 38/24

BREAK POINTS WON

Medvedev - 1/2

Rublev - 3/9

Taylor Fritz stunned Rafael Nadal on his ATP Finals debut on Sunday, producing a powerful display to beat the 22-time grand slam winner 7-6 (7-3) 6-1 in the duo's group-stage opener.

The American put Nadal under pressure from the off in Turin, failing to give up a single break point as he dominated on his own serve to take the 36-year-old to a tie-break in the opening set.

Nadal allowed Fritz to seize the initiative with a double fault at the start of that tie-break, and the American grasped his opportunity by clinching the first set with a big forehand winner.

The top seed's struggles continued into the second set as Fritz, moving well and dictating proceedings from the baseline, claimed the match's first break four games in before going 5-1 up by repeating the trick in a back-and-forth sixth game.

Fritz then wrapped up the win with another dominant display of serving, clinching his second victory over Nadal and denting the Spaniard's bid to win a title that has eluded him throughout his illustrious career.

Having been beaten by Tommy Paul at the Paris Masters and Frances Tiafoe at the US Open, Nadal has now suffered three consecutive defeats, and he must bounce back when he faces Felix Auger-Aliassime on Tuesday.

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS

Nadal – 7/4
Fritz – 8/1

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS

Nadal – 18/4
Fritz – 23/2

BREAK POINTS WON

Nadal – 0/0
Fritz – 2/9

Brandon Nakashima became the first American winner of the ATP Next Gen Finals with a straight-sets victory over Jiri Lehecka on Saturday.

The 21-year-old was beaten by Sebastian Korda in last year's semi-finals, but he more than made amends by winning all five matches in Milan en route to the title.

Lehecka was also defeated in straight sets by Nakashima in the group stage, but he broke his opponent in the opening game of the final at the Allianz Cloud.

Nakashima recovered from 3-1 down in a first set that went the distance and managed to get over the line after a 5-0 lead in the tie-break was reduced to 6-5.

Czech youngster Lehecka wasted a glorious chance to level up the contest when letting two set points pass him by in the second-set tie-break, which Nakashima went on to win.

The match was over inside 80 minutes as Nakashima, who struck 21 winners to Lehecka's 27, served out the final set to win 4-3 (7-5) 4-3 (8-6) 4-2.

"I am super happy right now," Nakashima said at his on-court interview. "It was a great tournament, this whole week. 

"This final was another tough match. Just a few points that could have gone either way. I am happy with my level today. It's a good way to finish off the year.

"It was a final so there are going to be some pressure moments. There were some nerves at the beginning, but I'm happy I was able to turn it around quickly and close it out."

Jack Draper was no match for Brandon Nakashima, who maintained his perfect record at the ATP Next Gen Finals to set up a showdown with Jiri Lehecka.

Nakashima won all of his group matches in Milan and, having lost at the semi-final stage in 2021, he made no mistake this time around with a 4-6 (8-6) 1-4 4-2 4-3 (7-5) victory.

The 21-year-old world number 49 controlled much of Friday's second semi-final, though he did have to rally from 5-2 down in the final set tie-break.

Nakashima's reward for beating Britain's Draper is a meeting with Lehecka, who fell foul of the American in straight sets in the group stage.

Lehecka came through in second place in his pool and the Czech turned in a dominant display against Dominic Stricker in the first semi-final, winning 4-1 4-3 (7-4) 2-4 4-1.

Seeded fifth, one behind Nakashima, Lehecka has reached his first ATP Tour-level final.

"Today I think everything went the way I wanted," Lehecka said. "Me and my team spoke about this match yesterday and today and the plan was just to relax on the court and enjoy it as much as I can.

"Dominic was playing incredible here, so I am very happy with my win."

Jack Draper comfortably defeated home favourite Lorenzo Musetti 4-1 4-0 4-3 (7-3) in Milan to reach the semi-finals of the ATP Next Gen Finals.

Draper only dropped one game in romping to a two-set lead, and though the world number 23 put up more of a fight in the third, his British opponent secured victory and his place in the final four with his second match point.

Brandon Nakashima awaits Draper in the next round, after the American made it three from three by beating Francesco Passaro in straight sets.

A tight opener saw Nakashima find three crucial breaks of serve to take the tie-break, but Passaro could not keep up the pressure and the world number 49 took over to clinch a 4-3 (7-4) 4-2 4-1 triumph.

Matteo Arnaldi joined his countrymen Musetti and Passaro in crashing out at the group-stage, though Jiri Lehecka needed two tie-breaks to see him off 4-3 (7-5) 4-1 4-3 (7-4).

Lehecka and Arnaldi combined to save 11 of 12 break points outside of tie-breaks, but Lehecka's strong second set helped him set up a semi-final encounter with Dominic Stricker.

Stricker reached the final four by cruising past Chun Hsin Tseng 4-2 4-1 4-2 to secure his third straight win at the competition.

The Swiss 20-year-old remained undefeated with 25 winners to Tseng's 11 while he out-aced his Taiwanese opponent six to zero.

Rafael Nadal and Nick Kyrgios could face off in the inaugural United Cup, while WTA world number one Iga Swiatek will represent Poland.

The United Cup is the new warm-up tournament for the ATP and WTA Tour seasons, and will take place in Australia in December and January.

While ATP world number one Carlos Alcaraz will not feature, compatriot Nadal will be competing for Spain, and they have been drawn alongside Australia and Great Britain in Group D.

Those matches will be played in Perth, with a clash between Nadal and Kyrgios, who have enjoyed an entertaining rivalry down the years, in the offing.

They were set to meet in the semi-finals at Wimbledon this year, but Nadal withdrew due to injury, handing Kyrgios a walkover into his first grand slam final, which he lost to Novak Djokovic, who will not be playing in Australia.

Serbia are not among the batch of teams taking part, but even so, there remains doubt whether Djokovic would be able to enter Australia given his stance against the COVID-19 vaccine, which eventually saw him deported from the country after a drawn-out legal battle ahead of this year's Australian Open.

Emma Raducanu has decided against playing for the British team, which also does not feature Andy Murray.

Casper Ruud, the beaten US Open finalist, will play for Norway in Group E, in Brisbane, while Alexander Zverev will be in action for Germany.

Swiatek is the biggest name from the WTA Tour to enter, with the brilliant 21-year-old lining up alongside Hubert Hurkacz for Poland in Group B.

Maria Sakkari and Stefanos Tsitsipas, along with his brother Petros, will team up for Greece in Group A.

Two more countries will be admitted to the tournament later in November.

Dominic Stricker defeated home favourite Lorenzo Musetti in five tie-break sets to make it two wins from two at the ATP Next Gen Finals and advance to the semi-finals.

The world number 111, who is seeded sixth in Milan following a flurry of withdrawals, defeated Musetti 4-3 (7-5) 4-3 (8-6) 3-4 (9-7) 3-4 (8-6) 4-3 (7-3) in Wednesday's epic match that last two hours and 31 minutes.

Having become the first player in the tournament's history to win three successive tie-breaks in Tuesday's win against Jack Draper, Stricker advances with a match to spare.

Musetti now faces a winner-takes-all showdown with Jack Draper on Thursday after the latter recovered to defeat Tseng Chun-hsin 1-4 4-2 4-3 (7-2) 4-2.

In the Green Group, Francesco Passaro saved three match points to overcome Italian compatriot Matteo Arnaldi 4-3 (9-7) 2-4 3-4 (7-4) 4-3 (7-4) 4-3 (10-8).

In what will go down as one of the all-time great matches in Next Gen history, Passaro triumphed after two hours and 38 minutes to get off the mark with his first victory.

"I am very tired," he said. "It was a really long match and this format I think it is tough and physical.

"For me it was physical today, with the tension as well, I was cramping. It was not easy. I am really happy to win and I will enjoy."

Brandon Nakashima moved to the top of the standings with a 4-1 4-3 (7-2) 4-2 victory against Jiri Lehecka as the third seed made it back-to-back wins at the Allianz Cloud.

Lorenzo Musetti enjoyed a winning start at the ATP Next Gen Finals in Milan after seeing off Tseng Chun-hsin in straight sets on Tuesday.

The highest seed at the tournament after Holger Rune's withdrawal, world number 23 Musetti eased to a 4-2 4-2 4-2 victory in just 70 minutes at the Allianz Cloud Arena.

The home favourite is making his second appearance at the event and arrives after an impressive year on the ATP Tour that yielded titles in Hamburg and Naples.

"It was really nice," Musetti said during his on-court interview. "I remember playing here from last year. The crowd here is really amazing. They gave me extra energy. I am pretty confident and happy with the win."

Elsewhere in Red Group, third seed Jack Draper was beaten 4-3 (7-5) 4-3 (7-5) 4-3 (7-5) by Dominic Stricker, who became the first player in Next Gen Finals history to win three successive tie-breaks.

Ranked 111th, the Swiss debutant hit 14 aces on the way to overcoming the world number 41.

Meanwhile, in Green Group, San Diego champion Brandon Nakashima prevailed in an epic five-set thriller against Matteo Arnaldi 2-4 4-3 (9-7) 4-3 (7-4) 3-4 (4-7) 4-2.

The fourth seed is aiming to go the extra couple of steps this year, having reached the semi-finals 12 months ago.

"Right from the beginning, it was a lot of critical points, the sets were going by fast, so I just tried to adapt as quick as possible," Nakashima said. "The tie-breaks, I was kind of lucky to squeeze them out, and today I think it was just all about finding a way out here.

"He's a super tough opponent, he was playing really well, and it was just some critical points in the end that helped me get over the line."

The day's other match saw Jiri Lehecka celebrate his 21st birthday by defeating Francesco Passaro 4-1 4-3 (9-7) 4-1 in just 67 minutes on his debut.

Novak Djokovic overcame Stefanos Tsitsipas in a dramatic final-set tie-break to reach the Paris Masters final on Saturday, teeing up a meeting with Holger Rune. 

Djokovic's 12-match winning run looked likely to be halted when Tsitsipas found a mini-break in the decider, with the Greek having fought his way into contention after losing the opening set.

However, the 21-time grand slam champion stepped up when it mattered, winning the final four points of the match to seal a 6-2 3-6 7-6 (7-4) victory.

The Serbian, who will now take part in his record 56th Masters 1000 final on Sunday, opted to praise Tsitsipas for his role in a thrilling encounter following the win. 

"It's very sweet, obviously, when you win matches like this against one of the best players in the world," Djokovic said.

"I thought I started the match very well, again, great hitting, like yesterday in the quarters. I had chances early on in the second, I didn't break his serve. The momentum shifted, the crowd got into it. I think he elevated his level of tennis.

"We went into an even battle all the way until the last point, until the last shot. Some incredible points towards the end. I'm just really glad to overcome this challenge."

In Saturday's other match, Rune clinched his first Masters 1000 final appearance by posting a straight-sets victory over Felix Auger-Aliassime.

The in-form Dane seized control of the contest after breaking in the third game of the opener, and did not give up a single break point en route to a comprehensive 6-4 6-2 win.

In doing so, Rune exacted revenge for last week's defeat to Auger-Aliassime in the Swiss Indoors final in Basel, halting the Canadian's 16-match winning run.

Rune has now won eight career matches against top-10 opponents, and half of those victories (four) have come during his strong run in Paris this week.

Carlos Alcaraz will miss the ATP Finals and the Davis Cup Finals after his season was cut short by an abdominal injury.

The world number one suffered an internal oblique muscle tear during a Paris Masters quarter-final against Holger Rune on Friday.

Alcaraz retired early in a second-set tie-break after losing the opening set 6-3 in the French capital.

The US Open champion on Saturday revealed it will take him six weeks to recover from the injury, so Taylor Fritz will take his place in the ATP Finals in Turin next week.

Teenager Alcaraz will also be unavailable for Spain's bid to win the Davis Cup on home soil, with the prestigious event getting under way on November 22 in Malaga.

He posted on Instagram: "After my withdrawal yesterday and having been evaluated by my medical team, Dr Juanjo Lopez and Juanjo Moreno, unfortunately this is the result of my injury: an internal oblique muscle tear in the left abdominal wall with an estimated recovery time of six weeks.

"Unfortunately I won't make the ATP Finals or the Davis Cup Finals. It is tough and painful for me to miss these two events, which are so important to me, but all I can do is be positive and focus on my recovery. Thank you for the support!"

The 19-year-old became the youngest player to top the ATP rankings after winning his maiden major title at Flushing Meadows in September and ends a magnificent season with a record of 57 wins and 13 defeats.

He has won five ATP Tour titles in 2022, with Masters 1000 triumphs in Miami and Madrid along with his finest hour in New York.

Novak Djokovic outclassed Lorenzo Musetti to reach the Paris Masters semi-finals after Carlos Alcaraz retired due to an abdominal injury.

Djokovic moved into the last four of a Masters 1000 event for a staggering 74th time with a commanding 6-0 6-3 victory over Musetti on Friday.

The defending champion will do battle with Stefanos Tsitsipas for a place in the final as he eyes a seventh Paris Masters title.

Sixth seed Djokovic made only 10 unforced errors and broke five times, not allowing his Italian opponent to have a game point until early in the second set.

The 21-time grand slam champion only needed 74 minutes to dispatch the unseeded Musetti, moving two victories away from a fifth title of the season.

Meanwhile, world number one Alcaraz's participation in the ATP Finals next week is in doubt after he was injured in his quarter-final against Holger Rune.

Rune won the first set 6-3 and the Dane was 3-1 up in a second-set tie-break when US Open champion Alcaraz brought the match to a premature end.

As Alcaraz prepares to discover whether he can play in the season-ending tournament in Turin, Rune can look forward to facing Felix Auger-Aliassime in his maiden Masters 1000 semi-final.

Auger-Aliassime beat Rune to take the title in Basel last weekend and the Canadian stretched his winning run to 16 matches by beating Frances Tiafoe 6-1 6-4.

Tsitsipas was the last man to seal his place in the semi-finals, getting the better of Tommy Paul, who beat Rafael Nadal earlier in the week, 6-2 6-4.

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