Djokovic - Master at the Shanghai Masters
Posted on October 15 2018
An imperious Novak Djokovic beat Croatian Borna Coric over the weekend to claim his 4th Shanghai Masters title. The Serb extended his winning streak to 18 matches in a row (excluding the Laver Cup which is counted as an exhibition), and it would take a brave man to bet against him when he arrives in London for the end of season Tour Finals.
Djokovic replaced Roger Federer as the number 2 in the world this morning, and his form in Shanghai must surely be worrying for his rivals. The Serb did not lose his serve throughout the tournament, much less a set, his brilliant groundstroke play resembling the tennis he played during the peak of his career between 2015 and 2016.
Djokovic was clearly impressed with his efforts in China, particularly on serve, remarking “I’m not sure whether it has happened ever, you know, that I go through a tournament without dropping one service game… I’m sure that it hasn’t happened too many times if it did. So this was definitely one of the best service weeks I’ve had in my career.”
With Djokovic always so dominant behind his groundstrokes, such imperious serving makes him a daunting prospect, and he proved to be too strong for Borna Coric. Like everyone else this week, Coric found Djokovic too hot to handle and he admitted, “it was really tough, I didn’t know what to do exactly, I thought I was playing actually really well, which is in that moment not good because if I play bad, OK, I know I need to start playing better, need to change something.”
It’s not all bad news for Coric however, as he moved up to 13 in the rankings off the back of an excellent week in Shanghai. Victories over Stan Wawrinka and Roger Federer led him to his first Masters 1000 Final, and he has continued to highlight himself as one to watch in 2019.
While Coric will no doubt be a man to watch in 2019, Djokovic will continue to be the one that everyone’s aiming to beat, but in his current form, that looks like a difficult challenge. Whatever the formula was during 2015 and early 2016 when Djokovic was so dominant in tennis, it looks like he has rediscovered it after a difficult year in 2017.
Although Djokovic is number two in the world, it is clear that at present he is the king of men’s tennis and the one that everyone will be looking to dethrone. In Shanghai, Djokovic convincingly put two young pretenders, Zverev and Coric to the sword with straight-sets victories, so it remains to be seen who will emerge as his biggest challengers in the weeks and months to come.