- Shanghai Masters
Djokovic the master of Shanghai
Encounters between Novak Djokovic and Juan Martin del Potro tend to be thrillers, and the latest between the pair produced yet another as Djokovic retained his Shanghai Masters title with a 6-1 3-6 7-6(3) triumph.
Both players had lifted trophies and compiled winning streaks heading into the final, Djokovic clinching the China Open and securing 11 victories on the spin, and Del Potro taking the honours in Tokyo and winning eight consecutive games.
But one run had to collapse in the final at Shanghai, and at the end of what had become a gruelling duel between the Serb and the Argentinian, a tiebreak was required to decide who would get their hands on the penultimate Masters 1000 event of the year, and it would be Djokovic who would find another gear to ensure his name would be on the trophy once again after two-and-a-half hours of phenomenal play.
Only two men outside of the world's top four have become champions of the previous 32 Masters events, and Del Potro was aiming to join Robin Soderling and David Ferrer as those to defy the odds.
Djokovic was in control of the match and comfortably raced into a 5-0 lead in the opening set. With Del Potro being silenced, he secured the sixth game to avoid a whitewash, but Djokovic at the third time of asking took the set after 34 minutes.
Djokovic lost some of his confidence and swagger in the second set as Del Potro woke up. He secured four of the first five games of the second set to lead 4-1, and eventually closed out the set to force a decider.
Djokovic defeated Del Potro in the semi-finals of Wimbledon this year after a battle which almost hit the five-hour mark, and the one remaining set in Shanghai was a mirror image of that tussle.
With the two sets like the equivalent of football's game of two halves, the final set drew the best out of both players. Djokovic on numerous occasions displayed his great defence to keep Del Potro's weapon of a forehand at bay, and Del Potro showing deft touches at the net and his tremendous ability as a tall player to chase shots down.
Del Potro saved two match points in the 10th game of the set to level at 5-5 as play went on serve, but in the tiebreak he appeared to suffer from fatigue as Djokovic raised his performance to get the job done and end the Masters dream of Del Potro.
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