Novak Djokovic v Hubert Hurkacz: ATP Finals – live | ATP Finals
Hurkacz currently has an ace percentage of over 50% on first serve.
Djokovic 4-4 *Hurkacz (*denotes next server)
Hurkacz, impressively, bullies Djokovic out of the protracted second point of the game to make it 15-15. The Pole dumps a forehand into the next point, though, and then hits long from behind the baseline, and suddenly it’s 40-15. Hurkacz hits long again, and it’s all square in the first. Work to do for Djokovic, anyway.
*Djokovic 3-4 Hurkacz (*denotes next server)
At 40-15, Djokovic digs out an unlikely return off Hurkacz’s first serve and slowly wrestles control of the point in trademark fashion with some remarkably tenacious hitting. Thus he forces the score back to 40-30, but Hurkacz isn’t fazed, and spanks a big ace down the middle to make it 4-3 in the first set. Tiebreak incoming? Looks that way.
Djokovic 3-3 *Hurkacz (*denotes next server)
Djokovic seals a love hold with a resounding ace out wide. That was easily the fastest game we’ve had in the first set, no chance for Hurkacz to get close to the Djokovic serve there.
*Djokovic 2-3 Hurkacz (*denotes next server)
“Could Hurkacz qualify for the semis if he beats Djokovic and Rune loses (to Sinner)?” asks Peter Pluddemann on email. “That would leave three players with 1 win each.”
, on the official site, the only thing Hurkacz is playing for is ranking points, not to mention the prestige of beating the world No 1. In other words, tournament rules prevent an alternate who’s only played once from qualifying for the last four.
Djokovic 2-2 *Hurkacz (*denotes next server)
Textbook from Djokovic first up, serving down the middle then going inside-out with a forehand to the open court. Another serve down the middle – 30-0 – then a drop volley at the net by Djokovic which must have come off the frame of his racket, because he holds his hand up in apology to his opponent.
Hurkacz gets on the board with an imperious forehand pass, the kind of shot he can play in his sleep when he’s firing, and then Djokovic errs into the net make it 40-30. Hurkacz comes to the net next up and clips a beautiful approach shot to the corner followed by a winning volley stunned cross-court. And that’s deuce.
On second serve, Hurkacz looks well in control of the point, attacking the net and forcing Djokovic deep, but the Serb conjures up a magnificent pass that Hurkacz can only applaud. And Djokovic duly closes it out.
*Djokovic 1-2 Hurkacz (*denotes next server)
A couple of thumping aces down the middle closes out a simple enough service hold for Hurkacz. That element of his game appears to be working well … The players sit down for a drink. Can Hurkacz put Djokovic’s serve under pressure next up?
Djokovic 1-1 *Hurkacz (*denotes next server)
A couple of errant strokes from the back of the court by “Hubi” Hurkacz and it’s quickly 0-30 for Djokovic. The Serb powers into the net on the next point for 30-15 … then Hurkacz hustles well to stay in a point, produces what looks a sub-optimal drop shot, which Djokovic runs down, but hits his attempted winner down the line wide. Pressure at 30-30 on the Djokovic serve, but he eats pressure for breakfast. He closes out the game with an ace.
*Djokovic 0-1 Hurkacz (*denotes next server)
Hurkacz hits long on second serve for 0-15, then tonks an ace down the middle, and an next up an unreturnable serve for 30-15 … Then at 40-30, Hurkacz successfully challenges after a deep ground stroke kisses the baseline. He smiles and shakes his head when his suspicions are confirmed. Djokovic summons up a fantastic return to force deuce … but two more big first serves and the Pole closes out the first game.
Djokovic enters the auditorium.
“It’s about belief for Hurkacz,” says Greg Rusedski, Amazon Prime pundit. “These conditions should help him … but Djokovic is super-motivated today because he knows he needs to win.”
How many matches does Djokovic play when he doesn’t need to win, out of interest?
Djokovic loses the toss and Hurkacz opts to serve first. No surprise there. A quick photo with one of the sponsors, and we’re nearly ready to go.
Here comes Hubert “Hubi” Hurkacz, who was born in Wroclaw, in Lower Silesia. Perhaps his most famous result was hammering Roger Federer in straight sets at Wimbledon in 2021.
And now here’s Djokovic, sporting a natty green tracksuit top.
Here we go! The Amazon Prime coverage has kicked in. They start by telling us that Djokovic’s record is 6-0 v the big-serving Hurkacz.
Djokovic is doing a few exercises around some cones, while the Polish player is pictured having a spin on a static bike.
We’ll see if the crowd in Turin get behind the underdog, Hurkacz, rather than the (normally) all-conquering Djok.
The Italian fans were certainly cheering for Jannik Sinner, the Italian, when he beat the Serb on Tuesday. Asked about the raucous crowd, Djokovic said after the match: “I expected it, he’s the only Italian here and he’s playing in Italy. There’s a lot of hype and he’s in great form, so it’s normal.”
Nick Kyrgios concedes “the stars have to align a little bit” for him to make a successful comeback after more than a year out of professional tennis.
If you happen to like cricket, James Wallace is live-blogging the ODI World Cup semi-final between South Africa and Australia.
It’s between innings right now: the Proteas were all out for 210, but it could have been a lot worse had it not been for a heroic 101 by David Miller:
Daniil Medvedev booked his place in the semi-finals by beating Alexander Zverev last night:
Amazon Prime’s listings state that Djokovic v Hurkacz will start “About 1.30pm GMT” … although I presume for the early match they’ll start bang on time.
Does anyone reckon Hurkacz has a chance of upsetting the irrepressible Djokovic? You can email me if you like.
Everybody takes a beating sometimes – even Novak Djokovic. Jannik Sinner ended the Serb’s 19-match hot streak on Tuesday, the Italian roared on to a three-set win by the passionate home crowd in Turin.
The upshot is that Djokovic may yet be eliminated at the group stage of the ATP Finals, should he fail to beat Hubert Hurkacz today and Holger Rune defeats Sinner tonight. Thecould also be determined by a potentially complex tiebreak against those other two players.
Hurkacz of Poland is playing a one-off match in Turin as an alternate, following the withdrawal of the injured Stefanos Tsitsipas, but the world No 9 will be a highly dangerous opponent if he finds his range with his powerful serve.
For Djokovic, losing one match could be considered unfortunate, losing two would look like carelessness. Can he put one foot in the semi-finals with victory?
Match start time: 1.30pm UK.