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Hurkacz Earns Debut Spot in Nitto ATP Tennis Finals Following Semifinal Performance at Paris Masters

Hubert Hurkacz of Poland in action during his semi final match against Novak Djokovic of Serbia at the Rolex Paris Masters tennis tournament in Paris, France, 06 November 2021. EPA-EFE/CHRISTOPHE PETIT TESSON.

By Ricky Dimon

Hubert Hurkacz came tantalizingly close to a first-ever win over Novak Djokovic and with it a berth in a second Masters 1000 final.

It didn’t happen for Hurkacz, but he can take quite a consolation prize from the Rolex Paris Masters. The 24-year-old Pole clinched a debut appearance at the prestigious ATP Finals. He secured his spot in Turin by beating James Duckworth 6-2, 6-7(4), 7-5 in the Paris quarterfinals on Friday afternoon.

“It’s obviously a dream come true to be at the Finals,” Hurkacz commented. “I played at the NextGen Finals (three years ago in Milan) so I thought to myself maybe one day I would get to the main one. I’m just super happy.

“James was playing some really good tennis. He was very solid throughout the whole match, especially [in the] second and third sets. He was serving well and it was not easy to play against him. Obviously in the back of my mind I [knew] that basically I had to win today, so that was putting a little bit more pressure [to] push me to compete as hard as I could.”

Hurkacz put in a huge effort against Djokovic in the semis on Saturday and it almost paid off with an upset. The world No. 10 broke the top-seeded Serb at 4-2 in the third and also saved a match point at 4-5, ad-out to eventually force a tiebreaker, but Djokovic proved to be too tough in the end.

Having booked his ticket to Turin, Hurkacz withdrew from the Stockholm Open that began on Sunday. Now he can focus on becoming the first Polish player to compete in singles at the Nitto ATP Finals.

Hubert Hurkacz of Poland reacts during his first round match against Andy Murray of Britain at the Erste Bank Open ATP tennis tournament in Vienna, Austria, 25 October 2021. EPA-EFE/CHRISTIAN BRUNA

“I’m getting so much support, especially from other athletes,” he noted. “I’m privileged to be in this position and I hope I am making Poland a little proud. Interest [in tennis] is growing in Poland also with Iga [Swiatek], who is in the WTA Finals, so it’s amazing to have both players at the high level. Hopefully we will have a lot more guys and girls join the top soon.”

Ricky contributes to 10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on twitter at @Dimonator.