Alexander Zverev will get the opportunity to defend his Nitto ATP Finals title in London this season, as a slew of early round exits by other contenders at the Paris Masters has guaranteed that the 22-year-old German will make his third straight appearance in the year-end tournament.
Zverev came into the Paris Masters in seventh place in the ATP Finals standings, and only a couple of his nearest rivals making deep runs would have been enough to put him in danger of not qualifying.
Zverev’s Rivals Fall in Paris
A number of the top contenders fell out of the running in the second round, including Roberto Bautista Agut, David Goffin, Fabio Fognini, Diego Schwartzman, and Karen Khachanov. Eighth-ranked Matteo Berrettini also lost, and when the dust settled, there was no longer any mathematical way for Zverev to be left out of the field of eight in London.
“I am really happy to qualify for the third consecutive year,” said Zverev, via ATPTour.com. “Winning the title there last year has been the highlight of my career so far. I have such great memories of The O2.”
Zverev dropped a three-set match to Canadian Denis Shapovalov, 6-2, 7-5, 6-2, to end his tournament in the third round.
Meanwhile, the race for the final spot in the ATP Finals is yet to be decided, though the field of contenders is down to just three.
Berrettini Leads for Last ATP Finals Berth
Berrettini is still the clubhouse leader, despite his second-round loss, and it would take something special for anyone to catch him at this point. Stan Wawrinka has only one way to do it: he must win the tournament, starting with a third-round victory over Rafael Nadal on Thursday afternoon. Nadal acknowledged that health concerns are always an issue this late in the season, but said he is looking forward to the match on Wednesday.
“Tomorrow is another day. Another tough match against Stan,” Nadal told reporters. “This city is special for me, the crowd is great with me here. I am excited to play another day here.”
Gael Monfils is the man with the best shot to take away Berrettini’s spot in the ATP Finals. If he can reach the finals of the Paris Masters, he’ll do it without any complications; reach the semifinals, and he’ll take the final spot unless Wawrinka wins the tournament outright.
Monfils addressed the situation after his victory over fellow Frenchman Benoit Paire in the second round in Paris.
“He wants to reach the Top 20. I want to seal my spot in the Top 10 and maybe have an opportunity to steal the last spot for London,” Monfils said. “It was really tough, but we had great fun.”
Zverev and the last qualifier will be joining a field which already includes Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer, Daniil Medvedev, Dominic Thiem, and Stefanos Tsitsipas. The ATP Finals London will begin at the O2 on Nov. 9, and conclude on Nov. 17.