Novak Djokovic of Serbia arrives to play his semifinal match against Hubert Hurkacz of Poland, at the Paris Masters tennis tournament at the Accor Arena, in Paris, France, Saturday, Nov. 6, 2021. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)

Djokovic reaches Paris final to end record 7th year as No. 1

PARIS — Novak Djokovic will end the year at No. 1 for a record seventh time after rallying to beat Hubert Hurkacz 3-6, 6-0, 7-6 (5) in the Paris Masters semifinals on Saturday.

Djokovic, who also stays on course for a record-extending sixth Paris Masters title, moved one ahead of American Pete Sampras, who secured his six top year-end finishes from 1993-98.

“That was the goal this week. I’m very proud to finish the season as No. 1,” Djokovic said. “It’s a dream, honestly, because Sampras was such an idol for me when I was young. He motivated me to pick up the racket and try this sport.”

Djokovic eclipsed Roger Federer’s all-time mark of 310 weeks at No. 1 on March 8 and will finish 2021 having held the top ranking for 348 weeks.

Another win on Sunday will give Djokovic a record 37th Masters title to move one clear of fellow 20-time Grand Slam winner Rafael Nadal.