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Novak Djokovic just gets better and better this second half of 2018. The 31-year-old Serbian, who won his 32nd ATP World Tour Masters 1000 title on Sunday at the Rolex Shanghai Masters, brought his “Big Title” haul to 51 with the straight-sets victory against Croatian Borna Coric.
Djokovic leapfrogged Rafael Nadal, who has 50, on the all-time Big Titles list. Swiss Roger Federer still leads Djokovic by two “Big Titles” – a combination of Grand Slam, Nitto ATP Finals and Masters 1000 crowns.
But the Serbian is gaining ground, and quickly. Djokovic has won 18 consecutive matches and 27 of his past 28, dating back to Wimbledon. In Shanghai, he didn't drop his serve once, holding all 47 times at the season's penultimate Masters 1000 event. It's the first time Djokovic has never been broken en route to a title.
“This was definitely one of the best service weeks that I had in my career,” Djokovic said. “I have never played on faster courts here in Shanghai, so this year more than ever I needed a lot of success with the first serves in.”
Djokovic won his fourth Shanghai title and 32nd Masters 1000 crown, placing him within one of Nadal's all-time mark of 33. Djokovic, however, has been the most opportune of the all-time greats. He has won 51 Big Titles from 170 opportunities, a conversion rate of 3.3.
Nadal has a strike rate of 3.5 from 174 tournaments, while Federer has won a 'Big Title' every 4.2 chances (53/220).
Who would have guessed this in March when Djokovic admitted to feeling lost on the court against Japan's Taro Daniel at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells?
“Look, I think you're seeing the new Novak. I don't need to describe him. That's all I can say,” Djokovic said in Shanghai. “I had to reinvent myself and find the proper formula for success. I found it and I'm just trying to hold on to it as long as I can.”
With two more Big Titles up for grabs in 2018, Djokovic might finish the season on top of the Big Titles leaderboard – and atop the ATP Rankings. The Serbian moved into No. 2 in the ATP Rankings on Monday and is currently only 215 points behind No. 1 Nadal.
If Djokovic finishes year-end No. 1 for the fifth time, he would make history: No player has climbed from as low as he was earlier this year — No. 22 on 21 May — to No. 1 in the same season. The closest was Andre Agassi, who jumped from No. 14 in May 1999 to the top spot later that season.Current and Former Champions' Big Titles Won (Records Since 1990) 
Grand Slams
Nitto ATP Finals
Total (Avg)
Roger Federer
53/220 (4.2)
Novak Djokovic
51/170 (3.3)
Rafael Nadal
50/174 (3.5)
Pete Sampras
30/146 (4.9)
Andre Agassi
26/164 (6.3)
Andy Murray
18/150 (8.3)
Boris Becker*
9/83 (9.2)
Thomas Muster
9/86 (9.6)
Gustavo Kuerten
9/103 (11.4)
Jim Courier
9/113 (12.6)
Stefan Edberg**
4/56 (14)
Marcelo Rios
5/83 (16.6)
Michael Chang
8/142 (17.8)
Marat Safin
7/131 (18.7)
Andy Roddick
6/127 (21.2)
* Becker's four other Grand Slam titles came before 1990.
** Edberg's three other Grand Slam titles came before 1990.

WATCH—Highlights from Novak Djokovic's win in Shanghai: 
With the men having just completed a Masters 1000 event in Shanghai, and the women about to begin the WTA Finals in Singapore, this might feel like an in-between week. Tennis being tennis, of course, an in-between week can actually involve more, rather then fewer, events; between the ATP and WTA, there are five on the docket starting Monday. Here’s a preview of what to watch for, and what might still be at stake, at each of them. The races to qualify for the tours’ year-end championships aren’t quite over yet.
VTB Kremlin Cup (WTA)
$867,776; Premier
Indoor hard court
Draw is here
For a tournament that’s happening the week before the WTA Finals, the Kremlin Cup has drawn an elite crowd. It includes world No. 1 Simona Halep, and three other members of the Top 10, Karolina Pliskova, Sloane Stephens and Kiki Bertens. The rest of the field isn’t chopped liver, either: Anastasija Sevastova, Daria Kasatkina, Anett Kontaveit and Elise Mertens round out an entertaining 28-player draw.
Along with the quality, there’s a sliver of drama left to unfold in Moscow. At the moment, Pliskova and Elina Svitolina hold the final two positions in Singapore, but a strong showing by Bertens in Moscow could catapult her past them. Bertens will face either Mihaela Buzarnescu or Aliaksandra Sasnovich to start, while Pliskova will open against a qualifier.
And then there’s Halep. The tour’s top player suffered a back injury that basically ended her Asian swing before it began. She’ll do what she can this week to find a little momentum before trying to cap her best season with her first title in Singapore.
Intrum Stockholm Open (ATP)
Stockholm, Sweden
$850,000; 250 ranking points
Indoor hard court
Draw is here
No one in tennis was happy to hear that Juan Martin del Potro fractured his right patella bone while falling to the court in Shanghai last week. But if there’s a player who could benefit from that unfortunate accident, it’s John Isner. Before Sunday, the top seed in Stockholm was a long-shot to qualify for the ATP’s year-end championships in London. Now that Del Potro, who was in the No. 3 position in the race, is in doubt, Isner will begin this week 70 points behind Kei Nishikori for the eighth and final spot. The American starts against either Bradley Klahn or Marius Copil in Stockholm.
Also here: Fabio Fognini, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Hyeon Chung, Denis Shapovalov, Lucas Pouille, Alex de Minaur, and Isner’s countrymen Jack Sock and Taylor Fritz.
WATCH— Juan Martin del Potro falls in Shanghai: 
European Open (ATP)
Antwerp, Belgium
$850,000; 250 ranking points
Indoor hard court
Draw is here
When Belgium’s David Goffin was forced to end his season early due to injury, Antwerp lost a potential home-crowd draw. As it is, the relatively new addition to the calendar—it began in 2016—will have to make do with Kyle Edmund as its top seed.
Also here: Defending champion Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, who is returning after a long injury layoff; 2016 champion Richard Gasquet; two-time runner-up Diego Schwartzman; and No. 3 seed Milos Raonic.
BGL BNP Paribas Luxembourg Open (WTA)
$300,000; WTA International
Indoor hard court
Draw is here
Julia Goerges is the top seed in Luxembourg, followed by Garbine Muguruza, who has taken a wild card into the final regular-season event of 2018. But No. 4 seed Camila Giorgi, who won a title last week in Linz and has had a career season, who may be in the best form here.
VTB Kremlin Cup (ATP)
$936,435; 250 ranking points
Indoor hard court
Draw is here
Making a Grand Slam semifinal has its benefits, and Marco Cecchinato, surprise semifinalist at Roland Garros, is still reaping them. Despite winning just two matches since July, he’s the top seed in Moscow. Just behind him are two local favorites, Daniil Medvedev and Karen Khachanov.
First-round match to watch: Nick Kyrgios vs. Andrey Rublev

No. 11 Borna Coric, +10
The Croatian soared 10 spots to No. 11 in the ATP Race To London as a result of contesting his first ATP World Tour Masters 1000 final at the Rolex Shanghai Masters (l. to Djokovic). The 21-year-old beat Stan Wawrinka, Bradley Klahn, Juan Martin del Potro, Matthew Ebden and Roger Federer en route to his fifth title match. Coric also beat Roger Federer in June for the Gerry Weber Open title in Halle. Read More & Watch Shanghai Final Highlights
Three singles berths remain up for grabs at the Nitto ATP Finals, to be held at The O2 in London from 11-18 November, with just three weeks left in the regular ATP World Tour season. Marin Cilic (3,825 points), Kevin Anderson (3,720) and Dominic Thiem (3,535) hold the automatic qualification berths. Coric is 1,235 points behind eighth-placed Thiem. Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Federer, Del Potro and Alexander Zverev have already booked their places at the prestigious season finale. Buy Your London Tickets TodayView Latest ATP Race To London StandingsNo. 9 Kei Nishikori, +1
The Japanese star rose one place to ninth position, supplanting American John Isner, after he advanced to the Shanghai quarter-finals (l. to Federer). Nishikori went 6-2 on the Asian swing, including a runner-up finish at the Rakuten Japan Open Tennis Championships 2018 (l. to Medvedev). With 3,000 points, he remains 535 points behind Thiem.No. 13 Kyle Edmund, +2
The Briton reached his second Masters 1000 quarter-final, five months on from his first at the Mutua Madrid Open (l. to Shapovalov), losing to Zverev in Shanghai. With a two-place rise to 13th in the ATP Race To London, Edmund showed the kind of form that took him to the Australian Open semi-finals (l. to Cilic) and also the Grand Prix Hassan II final (l. to Andujar) earlier this year.

If Ugo Humbert is to qualify for the Next Gen ATP Finals, he will have done so in dramatic fashion. His surge to the Top 10 of the ATP Race To Milan is already the most impressive climb in the brief two-year history of the tournament. 
On Sunday, Humbert moved to within striking distance of the seven qualification spots, rising to ninth with the title at the ATP Challenger Tour event in Ortisei, Italy. The 20-year-old was a blur on the blazing fast hard courts of Ortisei, downing top seed Pierre-Hugues Herbert 6-4, 6-2 in the final.
Just three months ago, Humbert was sitting in 30th position in his quest to qualify for Milan. 30th! He was so far from being in contention that even he admitted that there was "little chance" of punching his ticket to the 21 & under season finale. But, after securing his maiden title in Segovia, qualifying for his first Grand Slam at the US Open, winning his first ATP World Tour match in Metz and adding a second crown this week in Ortisei, Humbert has catapulted up the standings. Ugo's Stunning Stretch
8 OctoberOrtisei CHWon Title
24 September
Orleans CH
17 September
Moselle Open (Metz)
First ATP World Tour match win
3 September
Cassis CH
27 August
US Open
First Grand Slam match win
30 July 
Segovia CH 
Won Title 
23 July 
Granby CH 
16 July 
Gatineau CH 
In fact, the Frenchman has been the top performer on the Challenger circuit in that three month span, registering a 23-4 record. Incredibly, he has reached the final in five of six events entered.
And did we mention that Humbert will make his Top 100 debut on Monday? From No. 477 in the ATP Rankings one year ago, the Metz native is up to a career-high No. 99. He is the youngest Frenchman in the Top 100 since Richard Gasquet in 2006. 
In other action, 18-year-old Felix Auger-Aliassime and 22-year-old Christian Garin both edged towards Top 100 debuts of their own, notching respective crowns in Tashkent, Uzbekistan and Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.Felix Flies To Tashkent Title
Auger-Aliassime became just the sixth player to lift at least four trophies while aged 18 & under. It was his first hard-court Challenger crown, having previously prevailed on the clay of Lyon and Sevilla. While the Canadian moves up to No. 109 in the ATP Rankings, Garin rises to No. 103 with his title at the Santo Domingo Open. It was his second straight triumph on the circuit, having also prevailed a week ago in Campinas, Brazil.A True Test of Survival: Santo Domingo 2018
Meanwhile, Bjorn Fratangelo claimed his first title in two and a half years, rediscovering his top form after suffering a torn rectus femoris (quadriceps muscle). He triumphed in Fairfield, California, reeling off 10 sets in a row to lift his third Challenger trophy.
And the week also included Roberto Carballes Baena's victory on the clay of Barcelona. The inaugural tournament at the prestigious Sanchez-Casal Academy featured an all-Spanish final, with the Granada native defeating Pedro Martinez from a set down. He became the eighth player to win on both the ATP World Tour and ATP Challenger Tour this year, having captured his maiden tour-level title in Quito in February.