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Unstoppable Novak Djokovic Wins Shanghai Masters

  • By winning Shanghai Masters, Djokovic has again underlined that he is the best player in the world right now, despite what rankings may say.
ANALYST
Feature
Modified 20 Dec 2019, 19:15 IST

Novak Djokovic is back to his best and looks unstoppable at the moment
Novak Djokovic is back to his best and looks unstoppable at the moment

Djokovic was the pre-tournament favourite to win the Rolex Shanghai Masters 1000 this year. He seemed focused and determined from the word go. The only time he had some difficulty in a match was when he faced a set point against the towering gentle giant from South Africa – Kevin Anderson.

Besides that particular set point against him which he swatted away in his characteristic manner, Novak has looked almost unbeatable. He has been the overwhelming favourite going into every match in this tournament. The one time when he was expected to get a serious challenge from tomorrow’s superstar, the young Sascha Zverev turned out to be one of the most one-sided matches one could ever witness between two players ranked in the world top 5.

So, when Federer could not emulate Djokovic in defeating another young next-gen player in Croatian Borna Coric in his quest to reach another Shanghai Masters final, Djokovic’s chances of holding aloft the Rolex Shanghai Masters trophy on Sunday became even brighter. Even if Federer had managed to enter the final, Novak would still have been considered the favourite, possibly an overwhelming favourite!

But with Coric in the final who was going to play his first final at the Masters 1000 level, it seemed almost certain that Novak will waltz his way through the final. That is exactly how the match panned out to be. Coric seemed overawed by the occasion.

Borna Coric, in his first final at Masters 1000 level, was overpowered by the Novak force
Borna Coric, in his first final at Masters 1000 level, was overpowered by the Novak force

But more than the occasion, it is safe to assume that the player on the other side of the court was the main reason why Coric could never bring himself to play at the level he had operated against Roger. Or maybe he did, and the much superior game from Novak made Coric’s game look a little pedestrian.

Though to Coric’s credit, he did not get blown off the court, the way Zverev was the previous day. He did put up a fight and made Djokovic’s path to the title a little tough. His never-say-die attitude was especially on display during a very long 3rd game of the second set where he fought tooth and nail to avoid going down by two breaks, which he eventually won.

But the result of the match was never in doubt. Neither Djokovic nor the fans in attendance around the Shanghai court, and possibly not even Coric felt that the name of the Shanghai Masters winner this year would be anything but Novak Djokovic.

With the 6-3 6-4 win, Novak Djokovic has yet again underlined that even though he is the world number 2 on paper, right now he is the best tennis player in the world. Even Alexander Zverev said as much during his press conference.

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After a difficult year and half when he struggled with injury and lack of focus, he has rediscovered his mojo. He has now won two back to back grand slams. He has also completed the Career Golden Masters by winning the Cincinnati Masters defeating the seven-time Champion Roger Federer there – a feat no other player has been able to achieve.

He is now very close to displacing the current world number 1 Rafael Nadal. Whether that happens or not is something only time will tell. But on the evidence of the supreme form, grit and determination that he has shown so far, it will take a very brave man betting against Novak Djokovic ending 2018 as the Number 1 tennis player on the planet.

Published 14 Oct 2018, 16:13 IST
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