Italian sensation Jannik Sinner made history on Thursday, becoming the first-ever Italian to reach the semifinals of the ATP Finals. This milestone was confirmed after Novak Djokovic secured a hard-fought victory over Hubert Hurkacz with a scoreline of 7-6 (7/1), 4-6, 6-1.
Despite Djokovic's win, Sinner is now guaranteed at least the second spot in the Green Group, thanks to Hurkacz, who, as a replacement for the injured Stefanos Tsitsipas, managed to claim a set against the Serbian world number one.
Djokovic, currently ranked number four in the world, finds himself in a precarious position, sweating on his semifinal qualification, which hinges on the outcome of Sinner's final group-stage match against Holger Rune later on the same day.
In a surprising twist, Sinner has the option to intentionally lose against Rune, securing his own progression while preventing Djokovic from advancing and potentially winning a record-breaking seventh Finals title. This strategic move could bring a disappointing end to Djokovic's remarkable 2023, where the 36-year-old clinched three Grand Slam titles, bringing his 1000 Masters crowns to a record-breaking 40.
On the other hand, a victory over Rune would propel Sinner to the top spot in the group, potentially sparing him from facing the in-form Red Group leader Daniil Medvedev in the semifinals.
Djokovic's hopes now rest on Sinner's performance against Rune, who, having played only three games in his previous match with Tsitsipas, holds a more rested position than the Italian. Djokovic's journey in the ATP Finals takes an uncertain turn as he navigates the dynamic scenarios in the group stage.