By Erik Gudris/ Sunday, October 13, 2013
Novak Djokovic defended his Shanghai Rolex Masters title against a determined Juan Martin Del Potro in a
thrilling three-set final.
Photo Credit: AP
For Novak Djokovic, China might just feel like a second home.
That's because the Serbian superstar continues to enjoy some of his best success in Asia that includes defending his Shanghai Rolex Masters title in Sunday's final. But Djokovic was made to work hard by a determined Juan Martin Del Potro who upset Rafael Nadal earlier in the semifinals.
Djokovic dominated the opening set on the strength of his forehand and also with a total of 13 winners. By also finding success up at net, a pattern of play that would prove key throughout the match, Djokovic wrapped up the first set 6-1.
Del Potro roared back in the second set by claiming an early break of serve that soon propelled him to a 3-0 lead. The Argentine, seeking his first ever ATP Masters 1000 title, stood his ground when facing 0-40 on his serve later at 4-2.
On the strength of big serving, something he enjoyed all week in Shanghai, Del Potro held serve and soon closed out the set 6-3.
The final set proved a raucous affair not only from the packed crowd but from each man who weren't afraid to show their emotions on every point. Del Potro, again with massive winners from each wing, fought off early break points against him.
A frustrated Djokovic yelled not only at his team but then seemed to take offense at the mounting crowd support for Del Potro who stayed level with Djokovic for 3-all. Serving to stay in the match later at 4-5, errors from Del Potro soon gave Djokovic 15-40 and with it two match points. Del Potro saved both, one with a potent second serve, the next with a patented big serve, big forehand combo.
Locked at 5-all, each player exhorted the crowd hoping they would swing their favor to him. Djokovic enjoyed three straight service games holding to love and that seemed to give him a tad more confidence heading into the final set tiebreak.
Each man earned early mini-breaks against the other, but it was at 3-2 that Djokovic pounced. A stellar 24-shot rally featured Djokovic scrambling to retrieve another Del Potro missile from his forehand side before Djokovic unleashed his own furious crosscourt forehand winner to take the lead.
Djokovic found success again up at net when it mattered. A lunging, but well-place short backhand volley winner extended Djokovic's lead to 5-3.
Soon, Djokovic held three more match points and this time he would not miss. A final backhand down the line winner sealed the 6-1, 3-6, 7-6(3) victory.
Despite the disappointment of once again losing a tough final in a Masters event, Del Potro's efforts this week clinched his berth into the upcoming ATP World Tour Finals in London.
Shanghai is now Djokovic's 15th career ATP Masters 1000 title and his seventh title this season. It's also his seventh won in China overall making the country the most successful for Djokovic who remains unbeaten there (20-0) since winning Beijing last year.