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Pole star Hubert Hurkacz secures last berth in year-end ATP Finals

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Turin, Nov 6 (IANS) Hubert Hurkacz, the world No. 10 tennis player from Poland, completed the elite eight-player field for the 2021 Nitto ATP Finals — the year-end tournament — which will be played at the Pala Alpitour in Turin from November 14-21.

The 24-year-old is the second Polish player to earn a spot at the event in tournament history — after 1976 runner-up Wojtek Fibak — and will make his debut following a scintillating season in which he reached a career-high No. 10 in the ATP Rankings and bagged three ATP Tour trophies.

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“It feels incredible. Obviously going to Turin is a dream,” Hurkacz told nittoatpfinals.com on Friday evening.

“Growing up as a kid, seeing all those top guys playing in the Finals, it’s inspiring. Now being among them, it’s very special because it’s just eight spots there, so it’s not that easy to get there.”

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Hurkacz clinched his spot by defeating James Duckworth of Australia in three sets to reach the Paris Masters semifinals on Friday evening. He said that he had been getting strong support from his countrymen in the weeks leading up to this moment.

“I’m getting so much support, especially from other athletes… I’m privileged to be in this position, and I hope I am making Poland a little proud,” Hurkacz said in a post-match interview on Tennis Channel.

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“Interest (in tennis) is growing in Poland also with Iga (Swiatek), who is in the WTA Finals, so it’s amazing to have both players at the high level. Hopefully we will have a lot more guys and girls join the top soon.”

Hurkacz began the year by clinching the Delray Beach Open title and went on to become the lowest ranked ATP Masters 1000 champion in 16 years at the Miami Open in March.

Hurkacz backed up that effort at Wimbledon in July, where he defeated second seed Daniil Medvedev of Russia and eight-time former champion Roger Federer en route to his first major semifinal, where he lost to Matteo Berrettini of Italy. Those efforts and a title run in September at the Moselle Open in Metz helped the Pole break into the top-10 for the first time on October 18.

Hurkacz joins four former Nitto ATP Finals champions, Novak Djokovic, Daniil Medvedev, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Alexander Zverev, besides Andrey Rublev, home favourite Matteo Berrettini and fellow first-time qualifier Casper Ruud in the Turin field.

The average age of this year’s player field (26) is the youngest at the season finale since 2009 (25).

–IANS

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