Novak Djokovic lined up a potential title showdown with Roger Federer after dismantling a shell-shocked Alexander Zverev 6-2, 6-1 on Saturday to surge into the Shanghai Masters final. Coric beat Federer in the Halle final in their last meeting earlier this year. His first two matches both went three sets. He went up a break at the start of the second set, but then trailed 4-1 in the tiebreaker. The Croat defeated Matthew Ebden 7-5, 6-4.
"I'm playing some of my best tennis, especially against Stan (Wawrinka in the first round) and (Juan Martin) Del Potro yesterday before he got injured".
For this first match, Djokovic is a solid [1.37] favourite to make the final, and rather surprisingly for two top-five players, they've only had one previous meeting, which Zverev took on the clay in Rome past year without facing a single break point.
Having needed three sets to get beyond Daniil Medvedev and Roberto Bautista Agut in his last two outings, Federer appeared in danger of needing a decider again when he trailed 4-1 in the second-set tie-break.
Djokovic held the advantage to seal the victory and set up a semi-final clash with Germany's Alexander Zverev, who became the fifth singles player to qualify for November's ATP Finals with a 6-4 6-4 win over Kyle Edmund.
"I think, quite similar in style of play to today's match".
"But also, he has improved a lot, and he has established himself as a top player".
The world number five - who beat 14-time Grand Slam champion Djokovic in their only previous meeting, a year ago in the Rome Masters final - recovered his poise for a time.
Interestingly, though, that match did have very close data - Federer had eight break points on return, compared to six for Nishikori - while only winning 52% of points in the match, a very low figure for a straight-set victory. Djokovic didn't give the South African another opportunity.