Novak Djokovic sees off resurgent Juan Martin Del Potro to retain Shanghai title

Novak Djokovic gets his hands on the Shanghai Masters trophy again after seeing off Juan Martin Del Potro in the final.

Story highlights

  • Novak Djokovic retains Shanghai Masters crown
  • Beats Juan Martin Del Potro in thrilling three set final
  • 20th straight win for the Serbian in China
  • Del Potro has qualified for ATP World Tour Finals in London

China is proving home from home for Novak Djokovic as he demonstrated yet again by rebuffing the considerable challenge mounted by Juan Martin Del Potro to retain his Shanghai Masters title Sunday in another three set classic.

Last year Djokovic also went the distance to beat Britain's Andy Murray in a riveting final rated as one of the best matches on the ATP Tour in 2012, this time around he showed all his battling qualities to see off the Argentine ace 6-1 3-6 7-6 at the Qizhong Tennis Center.

Sixth seed Del Potro had stunned new World No.1 Rafael Nadal in the semifinals, but could not repeat these heroics despite forcing a third set.

Read: Del Potro stuns Nadal in Shanghai

Neither player could gain the crucial break of service in the decider, but Djokovic opened up 2-0 and 4-2 leads in the tie-break and won the title with a backhand winner down the line after two hours 33 minutes.

It was his seventh of the season and came hard on the heels of winning the China Open last week where he beat Nadal in the final.

Secret to beating tennis' big four
Secret to beating tennis' big four


    Secret to beating tennis' big four


Secret to beating tennis' big four 05:40
Martina Navratilova speaks out
Martina Navratilova speaks out


    Martina Navratilova speaks out


Martina Navratilova speaks out 05:00

He paid tribute to Del Potro after his latest triumph. "He's a fantastic player and a great person," Djokovic told the official ATP Tour website.

"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."

The 26-year-old was winning his 20th straight match on Chinese soil and he improved to 62-9 for the season.

Djokovic was also claiming 15th Masters 1000 crown and will head to the ATP World Tour Finals in London next month in confident mood ahead of that title defense.

Del Potro had stunned Nadal Saturday, but his confidence would have taken an early dent as the World No.2 Djokovic swept through the opener for the loss of just one game.

The 25-year-old sixth seed broke through in the second game of the second set on Djokovic's service and held his lead to take the match all the way.

But once again Djokovic, 26, demonstrated his will to win under pressure and held firm to land the $729,725 top prize.

Read: Slumping Federer splits with coach

Former U.S. Open champion Del Potro has booked his place for London, with other confirmed qualifiers Nadal, Djokovic and Spain's David Ferrer.

Tennis greats gather for ATP reunion
Tennis greats gather for ATP reunion


    Tennis greats gather for ATP reunion


Tennis greats gather for ATP reunion 02:50
Little girl takes on tennis giants
Little girl takes on tennis giants


    Little girl takes on tennis giants


Little girl takes on tennis giants 02:01

Murray has withdrawn after surgery on a troublesome back ended his season.

But this was little consolation for Del Potro after his heroics against Nadal gave him high hopes in the final.

"The match was really close and I think Nole played unbelievable points in the tie-break," he told the official ATP Tour website.

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

Meanwhile on the WTA Tour, top seed Angelique Kerber of Germany beat third seed Ana Ivanovic of Serbia 6-4 7-6 to win the tournament in Linz.

Kerber clinched her place in the WTA Championships earlier this week.


    • Rafael Nadal of Spain watches the ball in his match against Martin Klizan of Slovakia during during day seven of the China Open at the National Tennis Center on October 3, 2014 in Beijing, China.

      What does 2015 hold for Rafa?

      Rafael Nadal's body might be giving him a few problems, but his mind remains as strong as ever. Will the Spaniard add to his haul of 14 grand slam titles?
    • LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 17: Wimbledon champion Andy Murray and his long time girlfriend Kim Sears arrive at Buckingham Palace on October 17, in London, England. Murray will become an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) and receive his medal from the Duke of Cambridge. (Photo by John Stillwell - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

      Love game: Andy Murray to tie knot

      The Scot has served up a few changes to his support team in 2014 but there's one person who isn't going anywhere -- his new fiancée Kim Sears.
    • Despite being forced to retire at the age of 24 due to health problems, Lacoste remained in the game and went on start the "Lacoste" brand in 1933, which specialised in tennis products. The inspiration for the company's logo came from his nickname as a player, "le crocodile."

      'Crocodile' who broke all the rules

      His distinctive crocodile logo is seen on clothing all over the world, but Rene Lacoste also left a lasting legacy in the development of tennis.
    • Serena Williams of the US holds the US Open trophy after defeating Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark during their US Open 2014 women's singles finals match at the USTA Billie Jean King National Center September 7, 2014 in New York. AFP PHOTO/Stan HONDA (Photo credit should read STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images)

      Serena savors U.S. Open win

      Serena Williams is without peer in the modern women's game and now she is on a par with two American tennis legends from the past.
    • American tennis player and golfer Althea Gibson (right) receives a kiss from compatriot Darlene Hard, whom she beat in two sets to become the first black woman to win the Women's Singles Finals at Wimbledon.

      The amazing life of Althea Gibson

      Over the course of her remarkable life, Althea Gibson was many things to many people -- but it was tennis where she really left her mark.
    • Courting couple at match point

      "I didn't cry once when I practiced in front of the mirror," says Martin Emmrich. But the nerves kicked in when he got down on one knee on court.
    • LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - JULY 03: Tennis / Frauen: Wimbledon 2004, London; Finale; Siegerin Maria SHARAPOVA / RUS 03.07.04. (Photo by Bongarts/Bongarts/Getty Images)

      'Baby' Sharapova's big moment

      It's 10 years since a teenage Maria Sharapova became the darling of Wimbledon's hallowed Center Court, launching herself as a star.
    • 'Swiss Miss' follows mom's lead

      Five-time grand slam champion Martina Hingis has followed her mom into a coaching role, setting up a new tennis academy in Barcelona, Spain.