Firm step. Novak Djokovic, No. 1 in the world, beat Taylor Fritz 6-4, 6-3 in the quarterfinals and made his way to the semifinals of the Masters 1000 in Paris for the seventh time, where he will play Hubert Hurkacz for a place in the final and a special prize.
The 34-year-old Djokovic reached 980 career victories in a particular week, as he returned to play a singles match after 51 days, when Russian Daniil Medvedev, his ATP ranking guard, surpassed him in the US final. Open and deprived him of keeping the four Grand Slam of the season.
In fact, the Serbian won in his official return and on Thursday he advanced without stepping on the Paris-Bercy court, hard and indoors, since a French idol, Gael Monfils, from the past Top 10, did not appear due to an injury.
Thus, Djokovic fell to the toned Fritz, who tried to weigh his serve and his offensive proposal, but the greater regularity, angles and speed allowed Djokovic to take the victory and passport to the semifinals, the No. 71 at Masters 1000 level.
On Saturday, Hurkacz, who became the eighth and last classified at the ATP Finals in Turin, will be his rival. And for the Serbian it will be a special shock, since if he wins it and advances to the final in the French capital, he will achieve the goal of finishing seven years at the top of the world rankings.
If he succeeds on Saturday, or earlier if Medvedev does not advance to the semis, as the Russian is his only threat, Djokovic will achieve the record of seven years finishing as No. 1 in the world. In that way, he will pass American Pete Sampras and have the highest mark in history.