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Tennis

Djokovic destroys Zverev to reach Shanghai final

Novak Djokovic will rise to world number two as a result of his performances in Shanghai.
Novak Djokovic will rise to world number two as a result of his performances in Shanghai. REUTERS/Aly Song

Novak Djokovic dismantled Alex Zverev 6-2 6-1 on Saturday to advance to the final of the Shanghai Masters. The Serb will face either top seed Roger Federer or the 13th seed Borna Coric.

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Billed as a clash between the old master and the young gun, the encounter - Djokovic’s 1000th on the senior tour - fizzled out early in the second set.

After levelling at 1-1, Zverev was outmanoeuvred and outgunned to lose five consecutive games. The rout was over in one hour. 

“I just made him always play an extra shot and just tried to get as many of his first serves back in play,” said Djokovic. “From my end I just focused on what I needed to do. I felt I executed it well.”

The victory means Djokovic will leapfrog Federer to rise to number two in the world.

“Being number two after this tournament is a great achievement considering the first four or five months of the year after I had surgery," Djokovic added. “Where I was four months ago and where I am today is quite an extreme opposite.”

Since losing in the last eight at the French Open in Paris, Djokovic has claimed three tournaments including Grand Slam titles at Wimbledon and the US Open.

Success in Sunday’s final will move him to within 35 points of top ranked Rafael Nadal.

“My ultimate goal is to get to number one by the end of the year and I am in a good way,” Djokovic added.

Zverev, 21, won his only other match with Djokovic. That was in May 2017 in the final of the Rome Masters. And he held his own until he served to try and level at 3-3 in the first set.

Djokovic claimed the break to lead 4-2 and powered on to win the next two games. A few episodes of smashing his racquet earned the German a code violation in the second set.

But a new weapon failed to muster better fortunes. "He's probably the best player in the world right now,” said Zverev. "He's definitely at the highest level he's maybe ever been, or maybe equal to it."

 

 

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