After conquering the tennis world in 2011, Novak Djokovic stood out as a player to defeat the following season. Novak won six titles in 2012, including the Australian Open, the Masters Cup and three Masters 1000s. Djokovic did not play in Shanghai in 2011.
A year later, he made a strong comeback to win the title and add a seventh different Masters 1000 event to his already excellent pool at 25. The Serbian was in great shape after losing the Madrid Masters quarter-final on blue clay again in May. .
He won 39 of the previous 46 meetings before Shanghai and dominated the first four matches in China to prepare for the final meeting with two-time champion Andy Murray. Djokovic provided high-quality tennis at the Chi Chong Tennis Center, losing three times to Grigor Dimitrov, Feliciano Lopez, Tommy Haas and Thomas Berdych to take the four wins in less than an hour and a half.
Andy, on the other hand, had not lost a match in Shanghai until this final, playing only three matches to advance to the title match. A month after a thrilling US Open final in which Murray fought in five sets in just under five hours, they put on another thrilling show with a different outcome.
Djokovic racked up a 5-7, 7-6, 6-3 victory in three hours and 21 minutes, making it the longest final in Shanghai! It was their 16th meeting, and Novak took his ninth victory after saving no less than five game points in the second set!
Sail away in the match planner to complete the heist and lift the trophy. About Murray five points out of six broken. However, it wasn’t enough to get him home after breaking him six times from the 13 chances Novak was offered.
The Briton didn’t take that extra step and failed to take his chances while chasing a third successive Shanghai title. The audience enjoyed an entertaining battle between two great players who pushed each other to the limits from the baseline in several challenging rally that lasted for more than ten shots.
They had a similar number of winners, and Andy made a lot of unforced errors, not being able to tame his hits the way he did against Roger Federer and David Ferrer in the previous finals. Nothing could separate them in the shortest of exchanges, and Novak created a small gap in the middle and long rallies, winning six points more and showing true champion spirit after fending off all those match points.
Djokovic took the lead in the second game after Murray’s foul, and the Briton immediately pulled it off after forcing the Serb to foul in the next match. Andy grabbed after a tie to equalize the score at 2-2, and won another forehand to gain 3-2 advantage and momentum.
Novak Djokovic saved five match points against Andy Murray in Shanghai 2012.
They were back at 3-3 when Murray scored a routine backhand in Game Six, completed just six matches in 40 minutes and made the way to a marathon, just like in New York.
A fresh break was around the corner, and Murray captured it after Djokovic’s loose forehand. And the Serbian broke his serve a few minutes after the fourth consecutive bad game on both sides! The pivotal moment for the set occurred at 5-5 when Djokovic squandered a 40-0 lead.
He lost five consecutive points to fall 6-5 after a loose ball, giving Andy a chance to serve in the opener. Murray made a good grip and clinched the set 7-5 after 73 minutes of a grueling and intense first-class battle that would continue into the second set.
Both served well in the first six matches, and Murray created two 3-3 break points after Djokovic’s backhand error. The first was enough to lift the Briton 4-3, placing one hand on the trophy after a serve winner propelled him forward 5-3.
He sent Andy for a third consecutive title in Shanghai in the 10th game, squandering a match point after Novak’s forehand win and spraying a forehand foul to hand the match to his opponent, who tied the score 5-5. The group went into a tiebreaker after two holdings on each side.
Andy opened up a 6-4 advantage, with two more match points left. Novak fended them off with the winners and did the same at 7-8 to deny Murray a fourth chance to emerge at the top. Andy had the fifth and final point of the match which is 10-9.
However, Novak kept his focus and fend off to stay alive before finally stealing the set with a forehand forehand shot at point 24, sealing the break after about an hour and a half. Andy saved a breakout chance in the final set’s fifth game to stay on the positive side after exactly three hours of play.
However, he hit a forehand into the net the next time he sent the ball away to break and push Novak 4-3 forward. And the Serbian kept in the eighth game a header to increase the advantage. Andy broke again when the Briton sprayed a backhand foul at 5-3 to celebrate the title and perform one of the best escapes of his entire career.