Novak Djokovic defeats Hubert Hurkacz in Paris to break world ranking record

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Novak Djokovic made another piece of history by beating Hubert Hurkacz in the semi-finals of the Rolex Paris Masters to ensure he will finish a season ranked world number one for the seventh time.

The 20-time grand slam champion cannot now be caught by US Open winner Daniil Medvedev and breaks the record he jointly held with Pete Sampras.

Djokovic has topped the standings in seven of the past 11 seasons and broke the record for the most weeks at number one for any male player earlier this year.

He has now been number one for 345 weeks and counting, with his most recent spell beginning in February 2020.

Djokovic said: “(I’m) 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 number one and end the season as number one.

“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.”

Novak Djokovic celebrates his victory over Hubert Hurkacz
Novak Djokovic celebrates his victory over Hubert Hurkacz (Thibault Camus/AP)

Djokovic returned to action this week for the first time since he fell one step short of a calendar Grand Slam by losing to Medvedev in the final in New York.

He has looked understandably a little rusty but recovered from a set down to defeat Hurkacz 3-6 6-0 7-6 (5).

The Pole had already achieved his main goal of the week by clinching the eighth spot at the ATP Finals later this month, and he hit back from 4-1 down in the deciding set to force a tie-break but fell just short.

In the final, Djokovic will again face Medvedev, the defending champion, who claimed a surprisingly one-sided 6-2 6-2 victory over Alexander Zverev to extend his winning run at Bercy.

Daniil Medvedev defeated Alexander Zverev to set up a final against Novak Djokovic
Daniil Medvedev defeated Alexander Zverev to set up a final against Novak Djokovic (Thibault Camus/AP)

Djokovic said: “Last time we played, he overplayed me. I overplayed him in the finals of the Australian Open. It was quite straightforward matches, both of them.

“Hopefully I’ll be able to turn the tables around this time, learning from that experience in New York. He’s been playing fantastic tennis. He’s back at his best in the most important match, again, against Zverev in semis. He’s not missing much and serving big. It seems like he’s finding the groove.

“We played a very close practice set about 10 days ago before coming here to Paris. So let’s hope for the sake of the fans and everyone involved we can have a thrilling match. I look forward to that challenge.”

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