We're in the final few laps in the ATP Race to Turin, and the discourse on who clinch the four remaining spots remains up in the air.
But this week, we should get a near-conclusive picture of each of the aspirant's destiny. For now, Novak Djokovic, Carlos Alcaraz, Daniil Medvedev, and Jannik Sinner have the luxury of watching the race unfold before their eyes. They have sealed their spots at the season finale.
Djokovic and Alcaraz will begin their battle for the year-end No. 1 ranking at the Paris Masters next week. The Spaniard had pulled out from this week's Swiss Indoors due to injury. The top four in the ATP race won't change hands.
But the rest of the field which contains as many as 10 players who are mathematically within contention to qualify, cannot rest on their laurels. In that case, the two ATP 500 stops in Basel and Vienna will determine the fate of most of them.
At the moment, fifth spot appears a done deal. Andrey Rublev just needs 100 points to meet the cut-off mark and he'll rubber-stamp his passport. The Russian is in action in Vienna this week, and even an early defeat to Alexei Popyrin is unlikely to prevent him from qualifying.
From sixth to eighth, it is an open field. Ben Shelton's first ATP title in Tokyo has put him into the conversation of qualifying. But he'll need to extend his winning streak in Vienna and potentially win the title in Austria's capital.
But Shelton has drawn the short straw this week, taking on World No. 4 Jannik Sinner in the first round. If he loses that, it will be near impossible to qualify. All the players ranked between 6th and 14th are playing this week, either in Basel or Vienna.
The player who is most in danger of losing his spot in the Top 8 is Holger Rune. The Dane has 3,110 points, which is less than a 400-point lead from 11th-placed Hubert Hurkacz. Rune could be overtaken by Taylor Fritz, Casper Ruud, and Hurkacz if his poor form persists.
The four of them are playing in Basel this week which only adds to the intrigue. Rune and Fritz could meet in the semifinal. Likewise, Hurkacz and Ruud could lock horns in the last four. Tommy Paul is playing in Vienna and has 2,595 points. Like Shelton, anything less than a title win will severely dent his slim hopes.