Finally, the Serbian managed to win the tenth game and the set against an aggressive Coric, who has been the breakout star of the tournament, especially after defeating Federer 6-4, 6-4 on Saturday.
Djokovic will replace Roger Federer as world number two on Monday after claiming a third successive title and is only 35 points behind Nadal.
The Serb grabbed the opening set with a hold to love, having dropped just four points on his serve overall.
This accounted for the 95-minute match at the end of which Djokovic had won 72 of the total 124 points played while Coric tallied 52.Djokovic's fourth title in Shanghai added to his victories over Andy Murray in 2012, Del Potro in 2013 and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in 2015. Red-hot Djokovic has now been victorious in 18 ATP matches in a row and in recent months won Wimbledon, the Cincinnati Masters, the US Open and now Shanghai.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC, world No. 2, on how he turned things around after being mired in a slump following elbow surgery in February. "Obviously the last three, four months have been terrific for me".
"I was looking up to him since I was really, really young", he said, calling the upset over Federer one of his best results.
Coric rallied again late in the second set to save three championship points, much to the crowds delight.
After recovering from an injury, Novak Djokovic says he needed to "reinvent" himself.
"I have been playing really well throughout my career in China".
If the two players meet in the final, the equation is simple: the victor takes it all.
Novak Djokovic revealed that he may have been born a China man in a previous life and he proved it by speaking fluent Mandarin after winning the Shanghai Masters.
"I found it and I'm just trying to hold on to it as long as I can".