Novak Djokovic is no longer the master of his own destiny at the ATP Finals despite posting a 7-6 (1), 4-6, 6-1 defeat over substitute Hubert Hurkacz in the last of his three group marches in Turin on Thursday.
The Serb who owns six career titles at the eight-man end-of-season showpiece, will face a nervous wait for the results of the night session at the Pala Alpitour as his Green group completes preliminary play.
As a result of Hurkacz – a sub for the injured Stefanos Tsitsipas – winning the second, Italian Jannik Sinner automatically qualified into the Saturday semi-finals.
With Sinner facing young Dane Holger Rune in night play, that pair hold the fate of Djokovic.
The 36-year-old Serb will be hoping that Sinner wins the match, which would propel Djokovic into the final four.
But a win by Rune would send the NextGen pair through and point Djokovic towards a plane to Spain for next week’s Davis Cup finals.
The tense Serb was tight-lipped post-match, managing only a few words before cutting short a TV interview.
He was apparently still fuming over his second-set loss, where he was broken to love at 2-2, with his opponent winning 13 straight points.
Hurkacz rained down 24 aces in his effort over two hours, but also struck 41 unforced errors. Djokovic had 23 winners.
Djokovic, now 7-0 over Hurkacz, will be hoping to reach a 12th semi-final at the year-ender after playing the event 16 times.