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Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 16 November 2018

Novak Djokovic outclasses Borna Coric to seal Shanghai Masters title

Serbian second seed extends his winning run to 18 matches and claims the 72nd ATP title of his career

Novak Djokovic celebrates after beating Borna Coric to win the Shanghai Masters title. Reuters
Novak Djokovic celebrates after beating Borna Coric to win the Shanghai Masters title. Reuters

Novak Djokovic continued his unstoppable run of form by outclassing Borna Coric 6-3, 6-4 in the Shanghai Masters final for his 18th successive win on Sunday.

Djokovic was a class above all week, and Coric, who so impressively knocked out defending champion Roger Federer in the semi-finals, was no match for the second seed from Serbia.

Having reached the final, Djokovic was already assured of a move up one place in the world rankings to No 2, but winning the title means the 14-time grand slam champion takes another big step towards closing down Rafael Nadal in top spot.

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Given his stunning form, which has seen Djokovic collect the Cincinnati Masters, Wimbledon, US Open - and now Shanghai - titles since his last defeat, he will fancy his chances of ending the year top of the rankings, particularly with Nadal currently sidelined with injury.

It has been a remarkable turnaround from Djokovic, who struggled throughout the first half of the season having returned from a five-month layoff with an elbow injury.

After undergoing surgery on his elbow in February, Djokovic gradually rediscovered his form to the point now where he is once again the most dominant male player on the planet.

"I'm cherishing every moment of it," he told the crowd, calling Shanghai "a special place" after collecting his fourth title in the Chinese city.

"I could not ask for a better scenario," Djokovic said of his late surge to the summit of men's tennis. "I am very close now to Nadal in the rankings and put myself in a good position for the last period of the year."

Djokovic was impenetrable on serve in Shanghai, having never been broken heading into the final, and that trend continued in Sunday's showpiece as the Serbian faced only one break point all match.

Coric also started the match comfortable on serve, but in typically ruthless Djokovic style, the former world No 1 pounced on his first opportunity to seal a 4-2 lead in the first set.

After seeing out the opener, Djokovic immediately seized control of the second set by breaking Coric in the first game, once again with his first break point chance.

Coric managed to hold his nerve to stay within touching distance of Djokovic but was unable to force the break back. The 13th seed from Croatia also managed to fend off three match points when on serve, with Djokovic shanking an overhead smash on his third chance.

But the Serbian made no mistake when serving for the match, holding to love for his 72nd ATP title.

Coric said that he had no complaints about losing to "one of the best in the history of tennis".