Shanghai - Novak Djokovic will rise to number two in the world after he
dismantled a shell-shocked Alexander Zverev 6-2, 6-1 on Saturday to
surge into the Shanghai Masters final.
Celebrating his 1 000th match
in style, the 14-time Grand Slam winner was clinical as he lined up a
potential title showdown on Sunday with reigning champion Roger Federer.
Top seed Federer plays 13th seed Borna Coric of Croatia in the other semi-final.
will be up a place to second in the world - overtaking 20-time Grand
Slam champion Federer - when the rankings are released on Monday.
He is desperate to take injured Rafael Nadal's number one spot before the year is out, and on this evidence, he will.
31-year-old Serbian is in imperious form and this was his 17th ATP
victory in a row, as he taught rising German star Zverev a harsh lesson.
who had elbow surgery in February but recovered to win Wimbledon and
then the US Open last month, said: "Being number two after this
tournament is also a great achievement, considering the first four, five
months of the year and considering I had the surgery.
"And where I was about four months ago and where I am today is quite an extreme opposite.
"I'm just cherishing that achievement and every moment spent on the court."
The 21-year-old Zverev made an iffy start, beginning his first service game with a double-fault.
world number five - who beat Djokovic in their only previous meeting,
last year in the Rome Masters final - recovered his poise for a time.
The first set went with serve, and some big serves at that, until Djokovic grabbed the break to go 4-2 up.
threatened to unravel and conceded the set in barely 30 minutes after
landing a routine smash into the net, to gasps from the arena.
fourth seed, who is yet to win a Grand Slam despite his undoubted
talent, angrily threw his racquet at the start of the second set as
Djokovic ramped up the pressure.
An increasingly exasperated
Zverev issued more punishment to his racquet at 3-1 down, earning a code
violation and tossing the battered piece into the crowd.
Zverev was dismissed brutally in exactly one hour.
He called it a "weird" match and said he was never close to his best.
But he had fulsome praise for Djokovic, saying: "He's probably the best player in the world right now.
"He's definitely at the highest level he's maybe ever been, or maybe equal to it."