About an eventual final again against the Swiss Roger Federer, who instead lost to Borna Coric 6-4 6-4, Novak Djokovic had said: 'If I get to play Roger, I mean, that would be, so to say, a ideal final for this tournament that everybody was anticipating in a way.
The 20-times Grand Slam victor has produced a series of lacklustre performances in Shanghai, his first tournament since suffering a shock fourth-round defeat by John Millman at the U.S. Open last month.
"It's the best I've ever seen him play, there were no lapses in concentration, he struck the ball beautifully and there wasn't much Federer could do", said former British No. 1 Greg Rusedski afterwards, as reported by the British media.
"It's close to, or it's maybe equal to winning a Grand Slam, and I think other players will tell you the same thing, because just to be there, you obviously play well throughout the whole year". He served better, " Federer said.
The 21-year-old Zverev was off-colour most the match and bad tempered at times, angrily throwing his racquet at the start of the second set as Djokovic ramped up the pressure. "That combination is plenty here in Shanghai with fast conditions".
Zverev is the fifth player to qualify for the season-ending tournament in London, joining Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Juan Martin del Potro in the eight-player field. "I've always played him when he's playing well, but I'll hope I can take it to him".
In his 1000th career match, Novak Djokovic advanced to the final in Shanghai.More news: Palestinian Woman Stoned to Death by Israeli Settlers
Coric was quick out of the blocks at the Qi Zhong Stadium as he broke in the opening game against the top seed and only lost five points on serve to clinch the first set in 34 minutes.
By the time Zverev was 6-2, 3-1 down, his emotions got the better of him after he hit a routine backhand into the net.
"I was happy to get out in two", Federer said.
"I did what, 24 unforced errors and seven winners?"
"It's all working and it's been a couple of flawless matches".
Djokovic is targeting his 72nd career title on Sunday.
Serbia's Djokovic, 31, is in imperious form, winning 16 ATP matches in a row coming into the clash with Zverev, a rising star of tennis.