Novak Djokovic of Serbia added the Rolex Masters trophy to his haul this year, when he defeated Borna Coric of Croatia, 6/3; 6/4. The runner-up had pulled the greatest upset of the tournament by dispatching top seeded Roger Federer in the semifinals.
During the week in China’s commercial capital city, the expected Djokovic/Federer finals did not materialize after the top seeded players had been beaten in earlier rounds. None of the quarter-final matches extended to a third set, apart from ending quickly in one-sided results. This pattern continued to the semifinals, in which a single break in both sets gave Coric victory over Federer and Djokovic dispatched Alexander Zverev in under one hour.
The final battle, however, was closer than the scores. The winning edge was Djokovic’s serving feat, as he maintained the record of not losing his serve all through the tournament. Against Coric, he was at his ultimate best, committed no double fault but made 32 out of 52 first serves, including seven aces and won 91 percent of points on those serves. He faced only one break point but saved it while winning two off Coric, who saved seven break points.
This accounted for the 95-minute match at the end of which Djokovic had won 72 of the total 124 points played while Coric tallied 52.Djokovic’s fourth title in Shanghai added to his victories over Andy Murray in 2012, Del Potro in 2013 and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in 2015. It was his 32nd Masters trophy and 72nd tour level trophy.
After his heart-breaking loss in Roland Garros, Djokovic had been on a roll since the first round at Wimbledon after which he had won 27 matches and lost only one.Djokovic and Coric come from countries whose flags are similar, as both banners have the same red, blue and white colours, differentiated in the arrangement and the crest. However, the 31 year old Serbian turned professional in 2003 while the 21-year old Croatian did in 2013. Djokovic has won all their three career meetings; starting with the second round in both Madrid 2016 and Monte Carlo in 2018.
Borna Coric’s run in Shanghai will move him to number 13 in the rankings. With the 1000 points he garnered for winning the title, Djokovic would change places with Roger Federer as world number two. Rafael Nadal remains number one and leads the pack in the race to the end-of-season event in London.