Djokovic wins Shanghai to close on world No 1 spot

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SHANGHAI: 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 yesterday. The 14-time Grand Slam champion broke the 19th-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 today 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.

“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. —Agencies

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