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How Alcaraz's Paris Loss Gave Djokovic Control In Battle For Year-End No. 1

Djokovic begins Paris run on Wednesday against Etcheverry
November 01, 2023
Carlos Alcaraz falls on Tuesday in the Paris second round to Roman Safiullin.
Corinne Dubreuil/ATP Tour
Carlos Alcaraz falls on Tuesday in the Paris second round to Roman Safiullin. By ATP Staff

Carlos Alcaraz’s stunning opening-round loss at the Rolex Paris Masters on Tuesday had wider consequences than simply his elimination from the season's final ATP Masters 1000 event. With the defeat, the Spaniard’s chances of earning a second consecutive ATP Year-End No. 1 presented by Pepperstone honour dropped significantly.

Six-time Paris champion Novak Djokovic now has an opportunity to press his advantage this week. The Serbian leads the Spaniard by 500 points in the Pepperstone ATP Live Race To Turin and could extend his lead to 1,495 points by lifting the trophy in Bercy. The Live Race serves as a barometer for the year-end No. 1 battle.

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A gap that wide would nearly put the battle out of reach for Alcaraz with only one more week in the regular season (he has not entered the ATP 250 events in Metz or Sofia, but could accept a wild card) and then the Nitto ATP Finals, where a maximum of 1,500 points are up for grabs.

Pepperstone ATP Live Race To Turin (31 October)

 Player  Live Points  Max Points (after Paris) 
 1) Novak Djokovic  8,955  9,945
 2) Carlos Alcaraz  8,455  -
 3) Daniil Medvedev  7,200  8,190

Should Djokovic emerge victorious at the Rolex Paris Masters for the seventh time, he would be on the verge of extending his record of year-end No. 1 finishes to eight. The 36-year-old last accomplished the feat in 2021.

But if Djokovic suffers an early defeat, Alcaraz, who last year became the youngest ATP Year-End No. 1 presented by Pepperstone, would still have a chance to put pressure on his rival in Turin, home of the Nitto ATP Finals. Third-placed Daniil Medvedev is also still alive in the chase for year-end No. 1, although he is currently 1,755 points behind Djokovic in the Live Race.

Djokovic this week is competing for the first time since Davis Cup the week after he won the US Open. That time off provided Alcaraz an opportunity to make a move in the Live Race, but he has gone 5-3, losing in the semi-finals in Beijing, Round of 16 in Shanghai and the second round in Paris.

Djokovic will play Argentine Tomas Martin Etcheverry on Wednesday with the winner to play Dutchman Tallon Griekspoor for a place in the Paris quarter-finals.

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