Djokovic Poised To Clinch Year-end No. 1 Honours Saturday In Paris | ATP Tour


Tennis fans who can’t wait for the start of the Nitto ATP Finals could do worse than to tune into the semi-finals of the Rolex Paris Masters semi-finals Saturday, where four Turin qualifiers will continue their pursuit of the year’s final ATP Masters 1000 title.

And, for good measure, fans may also witness Novak Djokovic create history by clinching the year-end No. 1 FedEx ATP Ranking for a record seventh time, a feat the Serb can lock up should he beat Hubert Hurkacz. For pure entertainment value, the second semi-final between US Open champion Daniil Medvedev and Olympic gold medallist Alexander Zverev is also must-see TV.

Chasing a record-breaking 37th Masters 1000 title, five-time Paris champion Djokovic takes a 2-0 ATP Head2Head lead into his battle with Hurkacz, who on Friday sealed the eighth and final singles berth in Turin. The pair has not played since Wimbledon in 2019.

Djokovic is appearing in his 71st Masters 1000 semi-final; Hurkacz has only been here once before, but made the most of that opportunity when he pushed on to take the Miami title in March.

Counterbalancing his experience is Djokovic’s lack of match play; he is making his first tournament appearance since falling one match shy of completing the Grand Slam in the US Open final against Medvedev. But he has been steadily rounding back into form this week.

“I was absent from the Tour for two months, coming into this tournament, and the last competitive match I played was in the US Open final, compared to the other guys playing one or two events prior to Paris,” said Djokovic. “I knew that I needed to start well, with good intensity and put in a lot of hours on the practice court. But it’s different when you play points in a competitive match.”

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Despite the high stakes, Poland’s Hurkacz will be able to play freely this week for the first time after finally clinching his place in Turin with Friday’s quarter-final win over Australian James Duckworth.

“It feels incredible. Obviously going to Turin is a dream,” Hurkacz said. “Growing up as a kid, seeing all those top guys playing in the Finals, it’s inspiring. Now being among them, it’s very special because it’s just eight spots there, so it’s not that easy to get there.”

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Zverev is arguably in the best form of his life, having won 28 of his past 30 matches since the start of the Tokyo Olympics. He seeks his third Masters 1000 title of the season and sixth of his career. By reaching the semi-finals he joins Stefanos Tsitsipas with a tour-leading 55 match wins on the season and he is now within reach of a personal-best sixth title of the season.

Medvedev is hardly in a career slump, either. After winning his first major at Flushing Meadows, the Russian also passed the 50-wins milestone in 2021 en route to the round of 16 in Indian Wells, where he fell to Grigor Dimitrov. He will also be full of confidence at this stage of the season, having won back-to-back titles in Paris and at the Nitto ATP finals last year.

Despite trailing the ATP head2Head series 4-5, World No. 2 Medvedev has won his three meetings against the German in the past 12 months, including three-set victories in Bercy and at the season finale.





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