SHANGHAI – Serbian tennis player Novak Djokovic defeated Germany’s Alexander Zverev 6-2, 6-1 in the Shanghai Masters semifinals on Saturday, guaranteeing him the No. 2 spot in the ATP world rankings currently held by Swiss player Roger Federer.
Djokovic, a former world No. 1 and a three-time Shanghai champion, advances to his fourth final here after knocking out Zverev, world No. 5.
“It’s important (to get back to No. 2) and I am grateful that I have this achievement. I’m proud of it,” Djokovic said.
He added he was looking to dethrone the current ATP ranking leader, Rafael Nadal of Spain, saying “Obviously I worked hard for it, and my ultimate goal is to get to No. 1 by the end of the year. I’m in a good way.”
The last time the Serbian star held world No. 2 was on June 11, 2017, but after reaching the Shanghai Masters final, Djokovic will gain at least 600 points, allowing him to overtake defending champion Federer, who is set to play his semifinal match later Saturday against Croatia’s Borna Coric.
After months of recovery from elbow surgery and a drop in his level of play that sent him tumbling down the rankings, Djokovic, 31, has recovered in the second half of the year to win titles at Wimbledon, the US Open and the Cincinnati Masters.
“Being No. 2 after this tournament is also a great achievement, considering the first four or five months of the year and considering I had the surgery,” Djokovic said.
“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,” he asserted.