© Rolex Shanghai Masters - Mike Frey

Stefanos Tsitsipas celebrates reaching the Shanghai quarter-finals on Thursday.

Tsitsipas Presses Claims For London; Thiem Reaches Shanghai Quarter-finals

Greek sets sights on Djokovic win

Stefanos Tsitsipas edged closer to becoming the sixth player to qualify for the Nitto ATP Finals on Friday with a battling win at the Rolex Shanghai Masters.

The sixth-seeded Greek booked his place in the quarter-finals by beating Hubert Hurkacz of Poland 7-5, 3-6, 7-6(5) in two hours and 13 minutes. It was their fourth FedEx ATP Head2Head meeting of the year.

Tsitsipas adds 90 points to his 2019 ATP Race To London tally (3,550) and will now challenge World No. 1 and four-time champion Novak Djokovic on Friday afternoon. Djokovic beat Tsitsipas in May in the Mutua Madrid Open final. But Tsitsipas won their lone hard-court meeting in Toronto in 2018.

Tsitsipas can book his place in London Friday one of two ways: If he beats Djokovic or if London rival Fabio Fognini loses his quarter-final against in-form Russian Daniil Medvedev, who is closing in on a sixth consecutive ATP final.

Hurkacz was unable to convert two set points at 5-4, with Tsitsipas serving at 15/40 and paid the price. However, Hurkacz took a 3-0 lead in the second set only to see Tsitsipas start strongly in the deciding set tie-break by winning four of the first five points.

Tsitsipas is now 44-21 on the season, which includes two ATP Tour titles at the Open 13 Provence in Marseille (d. Kukushkin) and at the Millennium Estoril Open (d. Cuevas).

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Later in the day, fourth seed Dominic Thiem extended his winning streak to seven matches by overcoming Georgian No. 15 seed Nikoloz Basilashvili 6-3, 6-4 in 78 minutes for a quarter-final against Nitto ATP Finals contender Matteo Berrettini on Friday.

"Honestly, for me, it's difficult to play against guys like him because I love to have the control over the game, love to be in offence myself. But against him, it's almost impossible because he hits full power from the first shot on, serve or return," Thiem said. "I had the feeling mostly in the match that I was in the defence. That's not my strength, but I handled it well."

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Thiem recorded his 40th match win of the year (for the fourth straight season) against Basilashvili. Rafael Nadal, Djokovic, Roger Federer, Daniil Medvedev and Thiem have booked their places at the season-ending event, to be held at The O2 in London from 10-17 November. 

The Austrian secured the 15th trophy of his career on Sunday at the China Open in Beijing (d. Tsitsipas). He has also lifted silverware at the BNP Paribas Open (d. Federer), an ATP Masters 1000 event in Indian Wells, the Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell (d. Medvedev) and the Generali Open in Kitzbuhel (d. Ramos-Vinolas).

Editor's note: This story was updated at 2.15pm EDT Thursday to reflect a revised Nitto ATP Finals qualifying scenario for Tsitsipas (outlined in the fourth paragraph).