Novak Djokovic seals record year-end No 1 spot after reaching Paris Masters final | Tennis News

Novak Djokovic overcomes a wobbly start at Bercy against Hubert Hurkacz, who booked the last ticket for the season-ending ATP Finals on Friday, before racing through the second and handling his nerves in the third; he moves past Pete Sampras for most year-end No 1 finishes with seven

Last Updated: 06/11/21 4:30pm

Novak Djokovic will end the year at No 1 for a record seventh time after reaching the Paris Masters final

Novak Djokovic will end the year at No 1 for a record seventh time after reaching the Paris Masters final

Novak Djokovic sealed the year-end No 1 spot for a record seventh year after reaching the Paris Masters final with a fine comeback win over Hubert Hurkacz.

The world No 1, who won three out of the four Grand Slams in 2021, was made to work hard against Poland’s Hurkacz to win 3-6 6-0 7-6 (7-5) on Saturday.

It means Djokovic will play in the final of a Masters 1000 for the 54th time where he is chasing a record-breaking 37th title.

He has also surpassed Pete Sampras in becoming the first man ever to end a year as the world No 1 seven times.

“Just proud and extremely happy. Obviously that was one of the biggest goals and it’s always one of the biggest goals, to try to be No 1 and end the season as No 1,” Djokovic said.

“To do it for the record seventh time and surpass my childhood idol and role model, Pete, is incredible. Very grateful, very blessed to be in this position.”

Djokovic, who needs to win the Paris final to avoid failing to claim a Masters title in a season for the first time since 2017, dropped serve in the eighth game and Hurkacz followed up on serve to seal the opening set.

That spurred Djokovic into action and the top seed allowed his opponent only 11 points for a bagel second set.

Hurkacz regained his composure in the decider, but Djokovic broke for 3-1 with a forehand winner at the end of a long rally.

He followed with a service game to love but Hurkacz fought back to break back for 3-4 as he hammered a forehand winner down the line.

It marks the 17th time in the past 18 seasons (barring Andy Murray in 2016) that the year-end No 1 has been held by Djokovic, Rafael Nadal (five times: 2008, 10, 13, 17, 19) or Roger Federer (also five times: 2004-07, 09)

Djokovic wasted a match point at 5-4 and the clash went into a deciding set tie-breaker, which Hurkacz dominated until he buried a routine forehand into the net to put Djokovic 6-5 up with another match point.

The Pole sliced a backhand wide, allowing Djokovic to move within one victory of a record 37th Masters title.

Djokovic will face the winner of the match between Daniil Medvedev or Alexander Zverev in Sunday’s showdown.

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