Jamie Murray and Neal Skupski have one final chance in Bulgaria this week to qualify for the doubles event at the season-ending Nitto ATP Finals.
There’s just one place remaining for the eight-team tournament at London’s O2 Arena, which begins on Sunday and currently, Murray and Skupski are out of the qualifying picture in ninth position.
A second-round loss at the Rolex Paris Masters last week was costly, but the pairing still have an opportunity to overtake Jurgen Melzer and Edouard Roger-Vasselin, who currently sit in eighth spot, at the Sofia Open.
Murray and Skupski won their first-round match on Monday. They must reach the final to have any chance of being in London and they would need to win the title if Melzer and Roger-Vasselin are victorious in their opening match.
The duo’s hopes would be over should top seeds Melzer and Roger-Vasselin reach the final themselves.
Top start for @jamie_murray & @nealskupski in Sofia
The British duo take down Igor Zelenay & Divij Sharan 6-3, 3-6, 10-6#BackTheBrits 🇬🇧 pic.twitter.com/Y2fu7T5DYV
This year’s season-ending competition marks the 50th anniversary of the ATP Finals and will complete a 12-year residency in London. In 2021, the finals will relocate to Turin in Italy.
The race to be part of the singles competition has already concluded, with Diego Schwartzman taking the final spot with a run to the quarter-finals in Paris.
Nitto ATP Finals – 2020 Singles Field
Schwartzman has qualified for the first time and is the first player from Argentina to compete in it since Juan Martin del Potro back in 2013.
Andrey Rublev is a fellow debutant and the pair will be joined by Alexander Zverev, Stefanos Tsitspias, Daniil Medvedev, Dominic Thiem, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic.
Djokovic will be searching for his sixth title in London. Nadal has been part of the field on nine previous occasions and despite reaching the final twice, he has never won the final trophy of the season.
Meanwhile the question mark sitting next to Thiem’s name has been erased as he has confirmed that he is fit enough to take part.
The US Open champion struggled with blisters during the Vienna Open and subsequently pulled out of the Paris Masters, however he has said that he’s ready to travel to London.
“On Wednesday I am leaving for London with a “mini-team”. The final goal of 2020, the memories of last year are nice,” he said in a statement on his website.
“During the group phase I beat Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic, I beat Alexander Zverev in the semi-final. Then I had that 6:7 in the third set against Stefanos Tsitsipas.”
The draw for the competition will take place on Thursday and the season finale will be contested behind closed doors due to COVID-19.
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