World no.1 Novak Djokovic defeated Nitto ATP Finals alternate Hubert Hurkacz 7-6 (1), 4-6, 6-1 in their Green Group encounter on Thursday and qualified for the semi-finals for the 12th time in 16 appearances.
The dropped set against the Pole, who replaced the injured Stefanos Tsitsipas in Turin, confirmed Jannik Sinner’s place in the last four – making him the first Italian in the tournament’s history to reach that stage.
A very tight first set went the way of Nole thanks to a flawless tie-break, but Hurkacz, who had lost all six previous matches against the Serbian star, made a break in the fifth game of the second and held his advantage to level the match.
Djokovic dominated the decider breaking his rival’s serve twice, in the fourth and sixth games, to seal the win.
Novak was waiting for the evening match between Jannik Sinner and Holger Rune to learn his fate. The top seed needed Sinner to beat the Dane to progress, which eventually happened (6-2, 5-7, 6-4).
Carlos Alcaraz has finished top of the Red Group after a 6-4, 6-4 win over Daniil Medvedev on Friday in Turin, setting the stage for a semi-final showdown with the six-time champion.
With the world’s Top 4 players all emerging from the group stage, Medvedev, the 2020 titlist, will play Italian hope Jannik Sinner in the other semi-final.