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Djokovic retains Shanghai title
Top seed Novak Djokovic retained the Shanghai Masters title on Sunday by edging sixth seed Juan Martin Del Potro in an entertaining three-set final which lasted more than two and a half hours.
The Serbian toppled his Argentinian opponent 6-1 3-6 7-6 (7/3) for his seventh ATP crown of the year, giving his hopes of overhauling Rafael Nadal for the end-of-year world number one spot a slight boost.
Djokovic dominated the 34-minute first set, breaking the Del Potro serve in games two and four, and at that point looked firmly in control.
However, Del Potro responded well in the second set and stormed into a 3-0 lead thanks to a string of stunning winners. He then overcame a 0-40 deficit in game seven by winning five straight points and went on to close out the set by holding to love.
Del Potro saved two match points at 5-4 in the decider to force the tie-break, but world number two Djokovic held his nerve and clinched his 12th consecutive match win with a backhand winner down the line.
Del Potro, who booked his place at next month's ATP World Tour Finals in London by beating world number one Nadal in the semi-final on Saturday, was disappointed to see his eight-match winning streak come to an end but found kind words for his opponent.
He said on www.atpworldtour.com: "The match was really close and I think Nole (Djokovic) played some unbelievable points in the tie-break.
"The match was so exciting. At Wimbledon we played another fantastic match against each other.
"It's a really bad loss for me now. I was really close to beating him after beating Nadal."
Djokovic was equally gracious in victory after securing his 15th Masters 1000 title.
"I have to start by congratulating Del Potro and his team for the fantastic week," the 26-year-old said on court after receiving the trophy.
"You're a great person and even a better player, I'm sorry that you lost today. You deserve this trophy equally."
He added on www.atpworldtour.com: "He's a fantastic player and a great person. He showed that again.
"He has a really likeable personality and he's a big fighter. 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."