Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : October 14th 2013 Contents A49
Monday, October 14, 2013 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
SHANGHAI---Novak Djokovic maintained his dom-
inance in China by holding off Juan Martin del
Potro 6--1, 3--6, 7--6 (3) yesterday to capture a second
Shanghai Masters title and extend his winning
streak in the country to 20 consecutive matches.
The Serb completed a back-to-back sweep of titles
at the China Open in Beijing and the Shanghai Masters
for the second straight year. He s now captured seven
titles overall in China---the most he s won in any
Djokovic had to overcome a strong challenge from
del Potro, who fended off two match points late in
the third set, but couldn t put any pressure on
Djokovic s serve down the stretch and appeared to
fade in the tiebreaker.
"He s a big fighter. All the way up to the last point,
I don t know if I m going to win the match," Djokovic
said. "His forehand is one of the best in the game,
one of the best I ve ever played against. It s a huge
weapon and once it s on, it s very dangerous."
For Djokovic, the title has added significance coming
just days after he relinquished his top ranking to
Rafael Nadal, who lost to del Potro in the semifinals.
He can t retake the top spot this week, but Djokovic
has been focused on finishing the year strongly to
stay within striking distance.
"Considering the rankings, I put myself in a better
position right now with back to back wins," the six-
time Grand Slam winner said. "But the fact that if
I would win, I would put myself in a better position,
did not affect my motivation. My motivation is there
always, especially when I m playing finals of such a
It was a tough loss for del Potro, who was trying
to win his maiden Masters title at his third attempt.
He was coming off a title last week at the Japan
Open in Tokyo, and he got his first win over Nadal
in four years in the semifinals in Shanghai.
Del Potro overpowered Nadal so completely in that
match, the Spaniard later said: "Very few times I
played against a player with a level like today."
Del Potro served notice, however, that he s fully
fit and confident again after a wrist injury nearly
derailed his career after his breakthrough win at the
2009 US Open.
He s back up to the No 5 ranking---his highest in
three years---and has beaten Djokovic, Nadal and
Andy Murray this year. He also scored one of the
biggest wins of his career over Djokovic at the London
Olympics last year, where he beat the Serb in the
bronze medal match.
"I think I m playing even better than many years
ago," he said. "I got good things on my career this
year. I couldn t win a Grand Slam like I did in 2009,
but I reach finals in the 1000 (level) Masters. I already
win three tournaments. I beat the top guys, which
is fantastic for me."
The match looked like it might be a runaway win
for Djokovic early on as he raced out to a 5--0 lead
in the first set by dictating play with precise ground-
strokes and keeping a sluggish del Potro on the defen-
But the momentum shifted in the second set when
del Potro began connecting on his serve and cracking
the same forehand winners he used to sweep Nadal
off the court in straight sets in the previous round.
He broke Djokovic to take an early lead, then played
a magnificent game to save three break points to
hold for 5--2 before closing out the set.
The Argentine appeared to tire slightly as the third
set wore on. During one changeover, the chair umpire,
Damien Dumusois, warned him that he needed to
speed up play between points. "Even after a long
rally?" Del Potro asked, looking up wearily. Dumusois
Djokovic had two match points on del Potro s serve
at 4--5 in the set, but the Argentine saved them both.
The Serb then pulled away in the tiebreaker by hitting
a forehand winner to finish off a 24-shot rally to
take a 4--2 lead, leaving del Potro unable to manage
During the trophy presentation, Djokovic tried to
console an obviously disappointed del Potro, one of
his better friends on the tour.
"You re a great person and an even better player
on the court," Djokovic said. "I m sorry you lost
today. You deserve this trophy equally."
Djokovic holds off
del Potro in Shanghai
left, in their
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