Live Commentary: Novak Djokovic vs. Juan Martin del Potro - as it happened

Live Commentary: Djokovic vs. Del Potro - as it happened
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Relive Sports Mole's coverage of the Shanghai Masters final between Novak Djokovic and Juan Martin del Potro.

Novak Djokovic has defeated Juan Martin del Potro in three sets to regain his Shanghai Masters title.

The world number two produced some efficient tennis to ease to the first set, before Del Potro muscled his way back into the match.

However, Djokovic played the more consistently in the decider, and despite letting slip a couple of championship opportunities near the end of the match, he finally wrapped up the win in a tie-break to seal a 6-1 3-6 7-6 triumph.

Read below to see how the action unfolded in China.


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9.31amHello, and welcome to Sports Mole's coverage of the Shanghai Masters final between Novak Djokovic and Juan Martin del Potro.

9.33amWhat a final this should be. We have Novak Djokovic, who is looking to continue his incredible 19-match winning streak in Asia, and Juan Martin del Potro, who continues to show the power and brilliance that can move him closer to the top of the world rankings.

9.35amDel Potro is limbering up in the tunnel, so I would imagine that Djokovic isn't that far behind him. We will probably be starting a little later than the scheduled time, but the action isn't too far away.

9.37amThis will be the 13th meeting between the two players, with Djokovic currently holding a 9-3 advantage over his South American opponents. Of those 13, eight have come on hard courts, with the world number two emerging victorious on six occasions.

9.39amThe two players have now entered the mightily impressive stadium in Shanghai. Djokovic has won the toss, and he will serve first.

9.41amPREDICTION! On paper, Djokovic is the favourite for this contest, but after Del Potro's scintillating display against Rafael Nadal yesterday, then you have to say that this final is in the balance. I'm going for Del Potro in three sets.

9.44amThe players have finished their warm-up. Djokovic gets us underway.

Djokovic 1-0* Del PotroDjokovic steps into the court to put away a fine backhand volley to take the opening point of the match, before both players send the ball long of the baseline. The world number one looks sharp behind his serve and he quickly wraps up the first game.

Djokovic *2-0 Del PotroBREAK! Del Potro chases down a drop-volley but his forehand just misses the back of the baseline. He follows that up with a double fault, and Djokovic soon has 0-30. Del Potro gets back on level terms, before netting to gift his opponent a break point. The Argentinian saves the first, but there's nothing that he can do about the second, as Djokovic clips the outside of the tramline with a floating forehand.

Djokovic 3-0 Del Potro*It's important that Del Potro doesn't lose touch with Djokovic early on in this set, and a blistering return winner gives the indication that he hasn't been flustered by losing serve. He forces Djokovic into a couple of errors to create two break points, but Djokovic fires back with two baseline winners. This is turning into an imperious start from Djokovic and more dominance from the back of the court sees his move 3-0 ahead.

Djokovic *4-0 Del PotroBREAK! Del Potro resorts to displaying some of his raw power to move to 15-0, but he can't repeat it and Djokovic takes control. There's an urgency about the world number two's performance and Del Potro simply has no answer to it. Djokovic breaks for a second time and this set is nearly done and dusted.

Djokovic 5-0 Del Potro*Three first serves soon bring up three game points for Djokovic, before Del Potro lets rip with a return winner that catches the line. The number six seed thinks that he has another on the next point, but Djokovic successfully challenges the call to move one game away from the opener.

Djokovic *5-1 Del PotroHe hasn't just made that, has he? Frightening power and reach from Del Potro sees him blast the ball down the line, before taking the next point to earn 30-0. But like the previous five games, Djokovic soon displays his class with another baseline winner to bring the game back to 30-30, before sneaking into court to force Del Potro to net. It's set point for the world number two, but an excellent one-two off his serve ensures that the Argentinian remains in the game. Del Potro goes on to save another, but he finally gets a game on the board when Djokovic goes long with a backhand.

Djokovic 6-1 Del Potro*SET! Lesser man would have been rattled after missing two opportunities to take the opening set in a final, but Djokovic fires down an ace on the way to rapidly moving to two more set points. This time around, he won't be denied as Del Potro goes long with a return and that's the first set done with in just 34 minutes.

Djokovic *6-1 0-1 Del PotroIt's imperative that Del Potro starts this set on the front foot, and gets the crowd on his side at the same time. He achieves both after coming out on top in a lengthy baseline exchange for 30-15, but Djokovic isn't gifting his opponent anything in this game, with a blistering backhand down the line bringing up deuce. However, Del Potro lights up the crowd with two huge serves, which brings out the frustration in the tall Argentinian. That game felt huge in terms of the match.

Djokovic 6-1 0-2* Del PotroBREAK! What is going on with Djokovic's footwear?! He slips twice in attempting to make a baseline shot and he concedes a 0-30 disadvantage. He puts away a smash to halve the deficit, but he slips again! Del Potro has two break points, and a fine return sees the number six seed seal the early break in this set.

Djokovic *6-1 0-3 Del PotroIs the Del Potro who dominated Rafael Nadal so impressively yesterday beginning to make an appearance in this encounter? Some huge blows from the back of the court keep Djokovic on the run and Del Potro lets out a roar in moving to 40-15. He nets on the next point, but an ace out wide sees the Argentinian take control of this set.

Djokovic 6-1 1-3* Del PotroDjokovic looks a little rattled, but a cool backhand winner down the line levels things at 15-15. He takes the next point, but again, he loses his balance which forces him to net. We reach deuce, and despite the footwear issue, Djokovic gets on the board after forcing his opponent to float the ball long.

Djokovic *6-1 1-4 Del PotroI don't think I will ever get bored of watching Del Potro strike a tennis ball. Four dominating points off serve see him wrap up a love-service hold, which I think is the first of this final. I hope we get a final set because despite the one-sided nature of the first set, Del Potro has responded superbly.

Djokovic 6-1 2-4* Del PotroDjokovic looks like he is going to sweep to an equally excellent hold of serve at 30-0, but Del Potro replies with a brute of a forehand return. He makes an error on the next point, but he crunches a 161kph cross-court forehand to remain in the game. However, Djokovic shows immaculate touch at the net to hold serve.

Djokovic *6-1 2-5 Del PotroDjokovic jumps all over Del Potro's serve throughout the opening point to bring up break opportunities. Del Potro races in to put away a volley on the first, and a stunning top-spin forehand from the Argentinian saves the second. Simply awesome tennis sees Del Potro save the third, with the number six seed driving the ball to all areas of the court. A massive first serve brings up game point, and after Djokovic goes long, Del Potro is one away from the set. The 25-year-old looks inspired right now.

Djokovic 6-1 3-5* Del PotroIt's backs-to-the-wall stuff for Djokovic right now, but he eases the pressure with a couple of well-placed first serves. He's looking to assert control of the points before the rally progresses and in next to no time, he forces Del Potro to serve for the set.

Djokovic *6-1 3-6 Del PotroSET! Can Del Potro hold his nerve? A serve out wide sees Djokovic net the return, before an error on the Serb's backhand side gifts Del Potro 30-0. The Argentinian brings up three set points with a massive serve, and that instantly recognisable roar from Del Potro is there to be heard when Djokovic goes long. We are going into a third.

Djokovic 6-1 3-6 1-0* Del PotroDjokovic starts the deciding set with back-to-back aces, but another slip results in him sending the ball long. There's no problems with his footwear on the next, as he glides into the net to put away the winner. He makes a mistake on the next point, but a third ace sees the Serbian wrap up the game.

Djokovic *6-1 3-6 1-1 Del PotroIt's Del Potro's turn to stamp his mark on the set with more displays of his power. A forehand winner takes him to 30-0, but a successful challenge for a baseline winner from Djokovic halves the deficit. Del Potro is unflustered though, and the Serb goes long twice in succession and we are level.

Djokovic 6-1 3-6 2-1* Del PotroDespite Del Potro's improvement, Djokovic has only really played that one sloppy game at the start of the second set. He's very much in this match and he holds to 15 with a forehand winner down the line.

Djokovic *6-1 3-6 2-2 Del PotroDel Potro looks in control at 30-0, but he throws in a double fault to give Djokovic an opening. The Serb takes the chance to push his opponent back and a simple put-away at the net brings up 30-30. We reach deuce, but some scintillating hitting from Del Potro earns him game point. The ruthlessness in his shots is frightening at times! He holds and puts the onus back on the world number two.

Djokovic 6-1 3-6 3-2* Del PotroDjokovic coasts into a 30-0 lead, but two failed attempts at a drop shot from the Serb take the score to 40-30. Djokovic is down again after another slip! A phenomenal lob put him on the defensive before Del Potro brought up deuce with a cross-court backhand. BRUTAL play from Del Potro brings up break point. Jaw-dropping hitting. But what a reply from Djokovic, who sends an ace out wide. Djokovic holds after a couple of Del Potro errors, but this match really could go either way.

Djokovic *6-1 3-6 3-3 Del PotroDel Potro loses the opening point, and he seems distracted by people talking in the crowd. Djokovic goes wide with an attempted winner, but he displays class at the net in putting away a volley to earn 15-30. Del Potro is beginning to look a little weary, and a tame forehand into the net gives Djokovic two break points, but he saves the first with a deep forehand that the Serb can't handle. What an exchange on such an important point! The two players trade forehands before Del Potro unleashes a huge winner down the line to earn deuce, before he follows that up an ace. The crowd are loving this. The desire of Del Potro is incredible right now and some attacking play at the net forces the mistake and we are level once again. What a match!

Djokovic 6-1 3-6 4-3* Del PotroDel Potro should be 0-15 up, but he hooks an easy backhand wide. He makes a mistake on his forehand side before Djokovic moves 40-0 up with an ace. Del Potro gives everything behind a forehand return, but it goes long and Djokovic moves in front.

Djokovic *6-1 3-6 4-4 Del PotroDuring the change of ends, the umpire has told Del Potro to speed up between points. Bit controversial. According to the stats, Del Potro is taking 29 seconds between points, and Djokovic 26. They should be at no more than 20 seconds. Anyway, back to the action, and despite a crunching forehand winner, Djokovic misses out on the next two points to give his opponent 40-15. He can't convert though. and Djokovic is back to deuce, but the South American won't be denied, as a couple of timely serves gets him out of trouble.

Djokovic 6-1 3-6 5-4* Del PotroI think Del Potro is using every Djokovic service game to go for broke, but it doesn't bring much reward as Djokovic eases to three game points. A second-serve with plenty of spin is too much for Del Potro to deal with and Djokovic is one game away from retaining his title in Shanghai.

Djokovic 6-1 3-6 5-5* Del PotroDjokovic plays a delicate slice into the middle of the court to force Del Potro to go long, but some inspired play from Del Potro results in Djokovic netting. As impressive as Del Potro's attacking play has been, Djokovic's defensive version has improved as the match as wore on, and he forces his opponent to net before switching to aggressive mode to bring up TWO CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS! Del Potro saves the first with a big second serve, before an excellent one-two off his serve saves the second! Del Potro is showing such fight to stay in this, and more power hitting keeps him in this match! What a final.

Djokovic 6-1 3-6 6-5* Del PotroDespite the desire of Del Potro, Djokovic looks calm, and a couple of aces help him move to 40-0. That was such a dominating game from the world number two, and he earns himself at least a tie-break with an easy smash at the net.

Djokovic *6-1 3-6 6-6 Del PotroDel Potro begins the game with a serve out wide, but Djokovic replies with a forehand winner from inside the court. Big moments coming up for the Argentinian, but he is up to the task, using his serve to comfortably move through to a tie-break to decide who wins the title in Shanghai.

Djokovic 6-1 3-6 6-6 (4-2)* Del PotroDjokovic strikes an early blow with a smash at the net, but Del Potro responds by finding the corner with a backhand down the line. You can feel the tension in the stadium, and it's the number six seed who succumbs first, firing a forehand wide. He hits straight back though, with Djokovic netting from the baseline, but the Serb forces Del Potro to net off a first serve. SENSATIONAL FROM DJOKOVIC, who withstands everything that Del Potro can throw at him before driving a forehand winner into the corner.

Djokovic 6-1 3-6 6-6 (7-3)* Del PotroHow many times has Djokovic slipped during this match?! He's on the floor again, but he looks unhurt and what a response - a deft backhand volley at the net takes him two away from the title. The pair get into another exchange, but Del Potro flinches first to hand Djokovic THREE CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS. Del Potro sends down a big serve, but Djokovic manages to find another winner and he wins in Shanghai!

12.17pmNOVAK DJOKOVIC WINS THE SHANGHAI MASTERS!

12.19pmWhat an incredible match. At one point, it appeared as though this encounter could have been done and dusted in next to no time, but Del Potro produced some incredible tennis to get himself back into the match. However, Djokovic used all of his experience in the decider to deservedly regain his trophy.

12.20pmAs for Del Potro, he can take plenty of encouragement from this week, but he will have to wait to secure his first Masters title. The Argentinian is arguably the most entertaining man in men's tennis right now, but that's a debate for another day.

12.21pmThat will be all from Sports Mole for this match. I hope you enjoyed the match as much as I did. Goodbye for now.

Juan Martin Del Potro of Argentina celebrates his win over Feliciano Lopez of Spain during the Western & Southern Open on August 15, 2013
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