- 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.
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.
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.
Former U.S. Open champion Del Potro has booked his place for London, with other confirmed qualifiers Nadal, Djokovic and Spain's David Ferrer.
Murray has withdrawn after surgery on a troublesome back ended his season.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.