Djokovic Dominance Continues
The race to finish 2018 as world number one in the men’s game is heating up. Novak Djokovic defeated surprise package Borna Coric 6-3 6-4 in the final of the ATP Master’s 1000 in Shanghai to pull within 35 points of world number one Rafael Nadal in the race to accumulate the most points in this year’s Race to London. The Serb was utterly dominant in Shanghai, going the whole week without dropping a set, or even a service game.
The scary thing for the rest of the tour, is that Djokovic’s amazing form isn’t just something that started in Shanghai. Djokovic has won his last 18 matches and his last 25 sets on the ATP World Tour and seems simply unstoppable. Although Borna Coric may not sound like much of a challenge for somebody who has won 14 Grand Slams as Djokovic has, the 21-year-oldhad beaten Roger Federer 6-4 6-4 the day before and is at a career high ranking of 13, so was a force to be reckoned with. However, Coric had no answer to Djokovic’s inexplicably brilliant baseline defence, as Djokovic grabbed early breaks of serve in sets 1 and 2 and didn’t look back as he surged to his 4th title in Shanghai and a remarkable 32nd Master’s 1000 title.
“It’s phenomenal. I’m very proud of it,” Djokovic said. “Obviously the last three, four months have been terrific for me. Not many holes in the game in general, especially this week. Everything worked perfectly.”
This week’s tournament in Shanghai also saw Alexander Zverev, who lost to Djokovic in the semi-finals, qualify for the ATP World Tour Finals in London. Zverev is technically eligible to play the ATP Next Gen finals in Milan but will likely opt to skip that event in favour of London. This leaves 3 spots up for grabs. They will likely be claimed by Marin Cilic, Kevin Anderson and Dominic Thiem. The closest challenger in 9th place is Kei Nishikori, but he is 535 points behind Thiem and will need to post phenomenal results in Basel and Paris, and hope that Thiem has very little success himself, in order to qualify for London.
From a British perspective, things are looking even better for Kyle Edmund. He is 13th in the Race to London after reaching the quarter-finals in Shanghai and is progressively making better progress in the tournaments that he plays. Edmund will play as the top seed in Antwerp next week and will look to claim his first ATP title.