By News Desk,
Novak Djokovic is the new champion of Shanghai Masters, beating 21 year-old Croatian Borna Coric in two straight sets 6-3 6-4.
By the victory, he has won a record fourth Rolex Shanghai Masters title and his 32nd Masters title overall.
The victory has also galloped him close to finish 2018 as the year-end No. 1 in the ATP Rankings.
He is now just 35 points behind 33-time Masters 1000 titles leader Rafael Nadal (7,480) in the year-to-date ATP Race To London with three weeks left in the regular ATP World Tour season, ATPWorldTour.com reported.
Djokovic, who has already booked his place alongside Nadal, Juan Martin, Roger Federer and Alexander Zverev at the prestigious Nitto ATP Finals, to be held at The O2 in the English capital from 11-18 November, finished as the year-end No. 1 in 2011-12, 2014-15.
Djokovic did not drop his serve in Shanghai all week — 47 service games — and after another confident display in Sunday’s final he improved to a 27-1 match record since capturing the Wimbledon title on 15 July.
On Monday, he will return to the world’s Top 2 — replacing Federer at No. 2 — for the first time since 11 June 2017.
Djokovic had previously captured the Shanghai title in 2012 (d. Murray), 2013 (d. Del Potro), and 2015 (d. Tsonga).
He is now 20-6 at Masters 1000 tournaments this year — second only to Zverev (22-7) for most match wins — and also won Western & Southern Open silverware in August with a 6-4, 6-4 victory over Federer to become the first player to capture all nine Masters 1000 titles since the tournament series was established in 1990.
Djokovic leaves China with 1,000 ATP Rankings points and $1,360,560 in prize money after he lifted his 72nd tour-level crown. He has a 45-10 record this season (23-4 on hard courts), which includes three other trophies at Wimbledon (d. Anderson), Cincinnati and the US Open (d. Federer).
Coric earned 600 points and $667,115 after contesting his fifth ATP World Tour final (2-3 record).
Second seed Djokovic was relentless in defence and quick to capitalise on the short ball, in a physical opening to the final that saw six shots as the average rally length through the first six games. The Serbian took a 4-2 lead after 25 minutes when Coric over-hit a forehand long of the baseline. Djokovic kept his opponent on the move, mixing up his service placement and making forays to the net in order to extend his advantage. He clinched the 38-minute first set with a hold to love, having lost four service points overall.
A forehand volley error from Coric gifted Djokovic the opening game of the second set, but the Croatian did well to save four break points in the third game that lasted 11 minutes. With victory in sight, Djokovic raised his return game to hold three championship points at 5-3, but Coric showed great character to work his way back.
The 21-year-old Coric, who beat Federer in the Gerry Weber Open final in June and also on Saturday in the Shanghai semi-finals, was attempting to become the youngest champion at the Masters 1000 tournament, held at the Qi Zhong Stadium. He is now 8-15 lifetime against Top 5 opponent and is 36-18 on the year (22-11 on hard courts).