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Casper Ruud books place in ATP Finals; Hurkacz on track for last spot as Norrie loses to Fritz in Paris Masters

Ruud is the first Norwegian ever to qualify for the season-ending ATP Finals

Casper Ruud in Munich 2021 (Panoramic) Casper Ruud in Munich 2021 (Panoramic)

After a week weeks of nervously looking over his shoulder, Norwegian Casper Ruud booked his place in the ATP Finals in Turin later this month after a thumping 6-2, 6-1 win over American Marcos Giron in the third round of the Rolex Paris Masters.

The 22-year-old, who has won five titles, is the seventh man to qualify for Turin, leaving just one spot remaining, crushing Giron in one hour, seven minutes to become the first Norwegian ever to make the season-ending event.

“I think you can see from the smile on my face (what it means to qualify,” Ruud said. “It’s been a stressful few weeks and months, it’s been such a tight race. But it’s been fun as well. I’m really happy to secure the spot.”

Ruud joins Novak Djokovic, Daniil Medvedev, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Alexander Zverev, Andrey Rublev and Matteo Berrettini in qualifying for the ATP Finals, which this year will be played in Turin for the first time.

Norrie’s hopes virtually over after Fritz defeat

For Cameron Norrie, though, the dream is almost over.

The Briton, who began the year ranked No 74, had an outside chance to qualify for the ATP Finals in Turin after a stunning 11 months, but his chances are all but over after he was beaten 6-3, 7-6 (3) by American Taylor Fritz in the third round of the Rolex Paris Masters.

Norrie earned himself two set points to force a decider thanks to some typically gutsy play but Fritz shut him out with a big serve and huge forehand and then played a superb tiebreak to take his place in the last eight and also ensure that he will finish as America’s No 1-ranked man.

With Ruud now qualified, Norrie is now 190 points behind Hubert Hurkacz, who kept himself in eighth place – the last of the automatic qualifying spots – after he came from behind to end the run of lucky loser Dominik Koepfer, beating the German 4-6, 7-5, 6-2.

Norrie still intent on being in Turin, Sinner still in the hunt

With one counting event left on the calendar – the Stockholm Open – Norrie still has a mathematical chance to qualify, but it would need a near-miraculous set of circumstances for him to make it.

Norrie would then have to win the Stockholm title while he needs Hurkacz to lose his quarter-final in Paris against Australian James Duckworth, and then not earn any points next week. And even then, Italian Jannik Sinner, who sits 70 points above Norrie, could take it out of the Briton’s hands.

“Yeah, that sounds difficult,” he told reporters in Paris. “I gave it my best shot. I mean, it was unfortunate Taylor was too good today. I’ll have to think, but I’m going to go to Turin anyway. I think there are two alternate spots, depends on how everything turns out, but I will be an alternate there and then I will go and get prepared and get ready for Davis Cup after that, go to Innsbruck.”

Cameron Norrie: “It’s been a great season”

Norrie said he would decide whether he will play in Stockholm in the next day or so – by which time he will know Hurkacz’s result – but said even if he doesn’t make it, he is proud of his improvement in 2021.

“It’s been a great season so far, and I have really enjoyed the runs that I have had and the tournaments that I have played,” he said.

“In terms of holiday, it just doesn’t look likely. There is not much time. I mean, we’ve got Davis Cup, and after that…I will shut it down for a week, but, I mean, I have to get back on the horse and back training again, especially will be a very short pre-season for me, especially with Davis Cup. So I’m going to have to manage it well.

“It’s definitely going to be important to relax and take a bit of time off tennis. But it’s not going to be long, and I haven’t planned anything yet. We’ll see. But I’m really happy with how the year has gone so far, and I really enjoyed all my tennis and everything.”

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