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Novak Djokovic is 15th in the Pepperstone ATP Live Race To Turin.

Djokovic Builds Buffer As Turin Hopes Strengthen

Hurkacz and Fritz can challenge seventh-placed Auger-Aliassime this week

Novak Djokovic took an important step last week in his bid to qualify for the Nitto ATP Finals when he picked up 250 valuable points by winning the Tel Aviv Watergen Open title.

As a current-year Grand Slam champion, Djokovic will secure a berth at the eight-man season finale from 13-20 November provided he remains in the Top 20 of Pepperstone ATP Live Race To Turin. That scenario would see Djokovic qualify along with the Top 7 players in the Race after the Rolex Paris Masters on 6 November.

Currently 15th in the Live Race, Djokovic improved his chances of earning a place in the season finale for the 15th time. The 35-year-old increased his buffer inside the Top 20 by winning his 89th title. This year’s Wimbledon champion, who will look to tie Roger Federer with six season finale titles should he qualify, is 565 points ahead of 21st-placed Denis Shapovalov. The Serb began last week with just a 360-point buffer over the-then 21st-placed Alex de Minaur.

View Pepperstone ATP Live Race To Turin Standings

The five-time Nitto ATP Finals titlist has another opportunity this week to add points to his total at the Astana Open, an ATP 500. He will play Chilean Cristian Garin in the first round.

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The seventh position is being hotly contested by multiple players. Seventh-placed Felix Auger-Aliassime lost his opening match in Astana, opening the door for Hubert Hurkacz and Taylor Fritz to challenge his standing this week.

Ninth-placed Hurkacz and 10th-placed Fritz both can pass the Canadian’s 2,860 points. Hurkacz (2,680) would need to reach the final in Astana. He made a good start on Monday by defeating Argentine Francisco Cerundolo in Kazakhstan to set a clash against home favourite Alexander Bublik or Dutchman Tallon Griekspoor.

Fritz (2,385) would need to lift the trophy in Tokyo to pass Auger-Aliassime's points total. The American will begin his tournament in Japan against Australian James Duckworth.