The 14-times Grand Slam champion extended his winning streak to 18 matches as he continues to chase Rafa Nadal's world number one crown, with the Spaniard skipping the Asian swing to recover from a knee injury.
The win means that Djokovic will return to No.2 in the ATP world rankings when they are published later this month, with the possibility of reclaiming his No.1 sport now in sight.
"I saw Kei was playing extremely aggressive, especially towards the end of the second set", said the Swiss world number two, who has been content with his form this week despite being pushed to three sets in his other two matches. "I basically didn't care, and that's why I played so good".
The 21 year old Coric is marginally younger than the defeated Zverev, and looks to be following him on a path to the top ten. His first two matches both went three sets.
Celebrating his 1,000th match in style, the 14-time Grand Slam victor Djokovic was clinical against a shell-shocked Zverev.
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.
Djokovic, who has won the last two Grand Slams, at Wimbledon and the U.S. Open, is now world number three, but could move up a spot if he books a place in Sunday's final.
"And where I was about four months ago and where I am today is quite an extreme opposite".
He had his first sniff of an opportunity with a break point in the sixth game of the second set, but second seed Djokovic survived when Coric again fired wide.
An increasingly exasperated Zverev issued more punishment to his racquet at 3-1 down in the second, earning a code violation and tossing the battered piece into the crowd.
"Well, to be honest, I'm not sure whether it has happened ever, you know, that I go through a tournament without dropping one service game", Djokovic said.
Djokovic posted only nine unforced errors to 24 for Zverev.