Federer, Djokovic advance to Shanghai semis

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Quizzed by reporters about his plans for next year, the 20-time Grand Slam victor - fresh from losing to 13th seed Borna Coric of Croatia - showed a flash of irritation.

The Serb extended his winning run to 18 matches in China, following up his success at Wimbledon, the Cincinnati Masters and US Open.

The victory means Djokovic is now just 35 points behind Rafael Nadal in the race to end the year as world number one. In best of three matches on hard court where he's been priced in excess of 3.00, he's covered the +4.5 game line in six of seven matches since the start of 2017, and this line is what I like for tomorrow - we can get [2.06] on the young Croat to cover this line.

This was a fourth Shanghai crown for Djokovic and he is homing in on a return to number one, having fallen as low as 22nd in May as he struggled following elbow surgery in February. "He served better", said Federer, proclaiming himself pleased nevertheless with his form.

So I'm happy about that.' Federer will now play the Swiss Indoors in Basel in a week.

"And it's like I said, I'm going to just take positives from this week".

"I wasn't - I feel like - playing as well as I'm playing today", he warned.

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Asked by AFP if he had a message for the under-pressure Nadal, the Serb smiled: "I will leave that up to your creative spirit of journalism".

In what was the biggest match of his life, he wore heavy strapping on one thigh and has been troubled by a stiff neck that saw him ponder pulling out before the tournament.

Coric also believes he was very much second best, adding: "He was the much better player on the court".

Coric, the 13th seed, was chasing only the third title of his career and defeated top seed Federer in the semi-finals to underline his rich promise.

The second-seeded Djokovic has won all four Shanghai finals he's contested in his career (2012, 2013, 2015 and 2018).

"I was in China for the last four weeks and I was trying really hard to learn Chinese, but I can not do it", Coric said in his runner-up speech.

Celebrating his 1,000th match in style, the 14-time Grand Slam victor Djokovic was clinical against a shell-shocked Zverev.

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