Tennis: Novak Djokovic cruises past Borna Coric to win fourth Shanghai title and take No. 2 ranking

Novak Djokovic of Serbia with his trophy after beating Borna Coric of Croatia in their final at the Shanghai Masters tennis tournament on Oct 14, 2018.
Novak Djokovic of Serbia with his trophy after beating Borna Coric of Croatia in their final at the Shanghai Masters tennis tournament on Oct 14, 2018.PHOTO: AFP

SHANGHAI (REUTERS, AFP) - Novak Djokovic continued his scintillating run of form as he breezed past Croat Borna Coric 6-3 6-4 to win the Shanghai Masters tennis title for the fourth time on Sunday (Oct 14).

With a clever mix of ground strokes, the 31-year-old Serb broke Coric's serve in the sixth game and made a series of forays to the net as he consolidated his lead.

The Serb grabbed the opening set with a hold to love, having dropped just four points on his serve overall.

Coric, who collected one of the biggest wins of his career by defeating Roger Federer in the semi-finals, looked far from his best in his first ATP Masters final as he dropped his serve in the opening game of the second set.

The 21-year-old saved three match points to hold serve in the ninth game before Djokovic served out to clinch his fourth title of the season.

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 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.

The 14-time Grand Slam champion extended his winning streak to 18 matches as he continues to chase Rafa Nadal's world No. 1 crown, with the Spaniard skipping the Asian swing to recover from a knee injury.

Djokovic, who has returned to his brutal best this season with Grand Slam wins at Wimbledon and the US Open, will surpass Federer as world No. 2 when the next edition of the ATP rankings are released on Monday.

"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 said that he had no complaints about losing to "one of the best in the history of tennis".