Paris, Nov 2 (AP) Novak Djokovic is on track to finish the year as the top-ranked player for a record eighth time by defeating Tomas Martin Echeverri 6-3, 6-2 in the second round of the Paris Masters on Wednesday.
Djokovic is playing singles for the first time since playing Davis Cup for Serbia in mid-September this year.
Six-time Paris Masters champion Djokovic has strengthened his lead over second-placed Carlos Alcaraz in the rankings. Alcaraz was defeated by qualifier Roman Safiulin in the second round on Tuesday.
Russia’s Daniil Medvedev was also defeated by Grigor Dimitrov 6-3, 6-7, 7-6 in the second round match on Wednesday, after which Alcaraz is the only player who can overtake Djokovic in the year-end rankings.
Djokovic has been the year-end top-ranked player in the men’s category a record seven times. This is one more than Pete Sampras’ record. Steffi Graf, a great player in women’s tennis, has been the top-ranked player at the end of the year eight times.
Meanwhile, Tommy Paul and Casper Ruud will no longer be able to qualify for the ATP Finals. Twelfth-seeded Paul lost to qualifier Botic Van de Zandschulp 4-6, 6-2, 3-6, while eighth-seeded Ruud was defeated by Francisco Cerundolo 7-5, 6-4.
The ATP Finals will be held in Turin, Italy from 12 to 19 November. Djokovic, Alcaraz, Medvedev, Yannick Sinner and Andrey Rublev have already confirmed their places for this eight-player tournament before the Paris Masters. There is now competition for the remaining three places between Stefanos Tsitsipas, Alexander Zverev, Holger Rune, Hubert Hurkacz and Alex de Minaur.
Fourth seed Sinner defeated Mackenzie MacDonald 6-7, 7-5, 6-1. Seventh seed Tsitsipas defeated Felix Auger-Aliassime 6-3, 7-6, 10th seed Zverev defeated Ugo Humbert 6-4, 6-7, 7-6 (5) and sixth seed Rooney defeated Dominic Thiem 6-6. Defeated by -4, 6-2.
In other matches, 11th seed Hurkacz defeated Roberto Bautista Agut 6-3, 6-2 while 13th seed De Minaur defeated Dusan Lajovic 4-6, 6-4, 6-4.