Novak Djokovic continued his quest for a record 37th ATP Masters 1000 crown on Friday by reaching the Rolex Paris Masters semi-finals. The World No. 1 and five-time former champion overcame early resistance of American Taylor Fritz for a 6-4, 6-3 victory in 74 minutes.
If Russian Daniil Medvedev loses to Hugo Gaston, a French qualifier, later today then Djokovic will become year-end No. 1 in the FedEx ATP Rankings for a record seventh time. He would break a tie with Pete Sampras, who finished in the top spot in six straight seasons between 1993-1998.
Djokovic, who has won 46 of 52 matches in another standout season, will now prepare to meet seventh-seeded Pole Hubert Hurkacz, who clinched the last singles spot at the Nitto ATP Finals in Turin later this month. The 34-year-old Djokovic is currently tied with Rafael Nadal on 36 Masters 1000 trophies.[FOLLOW 1000]
Djokovic’s athleticism helped him land a blow at 3-4 in the first set, and while Fritz’s shot-making helped him break back immediately, greater depth of stroke from his Serbian opponent clinched the 38-minute opener.
The pair exchanged service breaks at the start of the second set, and once Djokovic recovered from 15/40 at 1-1, his forehand started to do the damage. From 2-2, he kept his foot down to win 12 of 14 points and finished his fifth straight win over Fritz with a backhand volley winner.