Shanghai | Djokovic reigns supreme
A swift ending to the Rolex Shanghai Masters, was expected with Novak Djokovic the clear favourite to lift his fourth title against the 21-year-old Borna Coric his surprise opponent in the final.
I have played well here throughout my career. This is a special place for me. Novak Djokovic
It took Djokovic one-hour and 35-minutes to topple the young Croat 6-3 6-4 to claim his 32nd Masters title from his 46th final in what proved an intriguing match as the Serbian edges closer to taking over the year-ending top spot on the world rankings from Rafa Nadal, who was absent from the field.
It was his 45th victory of the season and there can be no doubt that he is reaching the performance levels which saw him dominate the game back in 2015 before he lost his way after Wimbledon 2016 with a recurring elbow injury.
His comeback has been slow but once he had collected his fourth Wimbledon title in July, he has been on an upward curve, regaining his confidence and wrapping himself back into that cloak of invincibility.
Certainly in China that seems to be the case for he has now won 61 of his last 65 matches there since the start of 2009 in what was the 400th Masters match of his career and his 328th victory.
Meanwhile Coric, who played one of the best matches of his career when he beat Roger Federer in the semis to make his long-awaited debut at this level, was unable to repeat that form in the final and he was overpowered falling short on serve and was constantly kept on the move by Djokovic who commanded the match from the baseline.
But there were some close fought rallies which were inevitably won by Djokovic who was able to predict many of Coric’s moves thereby maintaining continual pressure on a frustrated opponent.
Djokovic’s serve was secure throughout. He faced just one break point in the match, dropping just nine points on serve while breaking Coric twice from nine opportunities.
“I want to thank you all for making this event so special,” Djokovic said following his triumph. “I have played well here throughout my career. This is a special place for me. I want to congratulate Borna and his team for a great week. You showed the world you’re going to have a good career and I wish you all the best.”
Coric acknowledged his conquerors prowess: “Well done to Novak. He was on another level today. It was not fun for me, I’ll be honest. He’s one of the best in history, so well done.”
Djokovic will now displace Federer as the world No.2 when the new rankings are announced on Monday.