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Novak Djokovic wins Shanghai to close on world no.1

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Novak Djokovic is within touching distance of Rafael Nadal’ s number one ranking after winning the Shanghai Masters with a 6 – 3 , 6 -4 victory over Borna Coric on Sunday .
The 14 – time Grand Slam champion broke the 19 th – ranked Croatian — a good friend and sometime – training partner — in the sixth game of the first set on the way to another no -nonsense victory .

The end was anti – climactic , with the Serb winning the championship point after a video review .
Djokovic buried his head in his hand at the absurdity of it .

The 31 – year – old will leapfrog Roger Federer into second in the world when the rankings are released on Monday and is in imperious form as the season reaches its climax.

Red – hot Djokovic has now been victorious in 18 ATP matches in a row and in recent months won Wimbledon , the Cincinnati Masters , the US Open and now Shanghai .

The last four months had been “ fantastic ” and “ tremendous ” , he said .

“ I ’ m cherishing every moment of it , ” he told the crowd , calling Shanghai “ a special place ” to him .

“ I could not ask for a better scenario , ” Djokovic said of his late surge to the summit of men ’ s tennis .

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“ I am very close now to Nadal in the rankings and put myself in a good position for the last period of the year . ”

Coric , 21 , said that he had no complaints about losing to “ one of the best in the history of tennis ” .

In what was the biggest match of his life , he wore heavy strapping on one thigh and has been troubled by a stiff neck that saw him ponder pulling out before the tournament .

But he refused to blame those for defeat to the man he considers something of an idol .

“ He was the much better player on the court . I was playing good , really , I was really happy how I played , ” he said .

“ I felt even if I was serving a little bit better , he ’ d still return my serves , so there is nothing I can do . ”

– Ruthless Djokovic –

This was a fourth Shanghai crown for Djokovic and he is homing in on a return to number one , having fallen as low as 22 nd in May as he struggled following elbow surgery in February .

He also missed the second half of 2017 with elbow and off – court issues .

Coric , the 13 th seed , was chasing only the third title of his career and defeated top seed Federer in the semi – finals to underline his rich promise.

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He also dispensed of three – time Grand Slam winner and Federer ’ s fellow Swiss Stan Wawrinka in his opening match .

Coric had the extensive thigh strapping changed for the second set , but he was immediately broken when he somehow sent a routine volley out .

He had his first sniff of an opportunity with a break point in the sixth game of the second set , but second seed Djokovic survived when Coric again fired wide .

It is nearly two years since Djokovic topped the rankings and he has made it his mission to topple the injured Nadal before the year is out

( AFP )

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