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Djokovic Retains Shanghai Crown; Lifts 15th ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Trophy

Shanghai, China

Djokovic© Getty ImagesNovak Djokovic has now won 15 ATP World Tour Masters 1000 titles.

Novak Djokovic improved his winning streak to 20 matches on Chinese soil Sunday by retaining the Shanghai Rolex Masters title.

By lifting his seventh trophy of the season, 26-year-old Djokovic improved his slim chances of overhauling Rafael Nadal in the battle for year-end No. 1 in the Emirates ATP Rankings.

Top seed Djokovic defeated sixth seed Juan Martin del Potro 6-1, 3-6, 7-6(3) in the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 final, which lasted two hours and 33 minutes. Djokovic has now won 15 ATP World Tour Masters 1000 titles. He also won the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters (d. Nadal) in April.

"He's a fantastic player and a great person," said Djokovic. "He showed that again. He has a really likable personality [and] he's a big fighter. All the way up to the last point, I didn't know if I was going to win the match. It was a very even match. My motivation is there always, especially when I'm playing finals of such a big event."

Djokovic earned $729,725 in prize money and 1,000 Emirates ATP Ranking points, while del Potro picked up $357,800 and 600 points. Both players have already qualified for the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals, to be held at The O2 in London from 4-11 November.

Djokovic dictated play throughout the 34-minute first set with his forehand. He dominated del Potro, competing in his third ATP World Tour Masters 1000 final, by striking 13 winners and winning all five net approaches. Djokovic broke in the second and fourth games to stamp his authority on the pair's 13th FedEx ATP Head2Head meeting.

In the second set, del Potro rediscovered the kind of form that helped him beat Nadal in Saturday’s semi-final. Djokovic struggled to win his first service points and his unforced error count increased. Free of nerves, del Potro broke Djokovic to 15 in the second game and produced some blistering winners to take a 3-0 lead.

Del Potro held his nerve from 0/40 at 4-2, by winning five straight points. Djokovic remained positive, but del Potro – on an eight-match winning streak – closed out the 44-minute set with a hold to love having won 83 per cent of his first service points.

Watch Shanghai Final Highlights

Djokovic celebrated a big hold at 2-2, when he saved one break point at 30/40 with his fourth ace of the match and came close to breaking del Potro, who recovered from 15/40, in the sixth game of the deciding set. Djokovic raised his game as the match went on and created two match points at 5-4, with del Potro serving at 15/40. But the World No. 2 was denied and the match moved closer to an inevitable tie-break.

Djokovic opened up 2-0 and 4-2 leads in the tie-break, courtesy of forehand winners, to edge closer to his 12th straight match win. He improved to 62-9 on the season when he struck a backhand winner down the line.

"The match was really close and I think Nole played [some] unbelievable points in the tie-break," said del Potro. "The match was so exciting. At Wimbledon [in early July] we played another fantastic match against each other.

"It's a really bad loss for me now. I was really close to beating him after beating [Rafael] Nadal."

Djokovic improved to a 39-21 record in tour-level finals, adding to his fourth China Open title last week (d. Nadal). Last week’s Rakuten Japan Open Tennis Championships titlist del Potro dropped to a 16-6 mark in title matches.

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