Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : October 7th 2013 Contents A40
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Monday, October 7, 2013
BEIJING---Having lost his top rank-
ing to Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic
showed he can still compete with
the Spaniard one-on-one.
A day after Nadal made sure of
wresting the No 1 ranking away from
Djokovic, the Serb gained some con-
solation by beating his big rival 6-3,
6-4 victory yesterday to claim his
fourth China Open title in five years.
In the women s final, top-ranked
American Serena Williams main-
tained her dominant form, beating
Jelena Jankovic of Serbia 6-2, 6-2.
Nadal only needed to reach the
final in Beijing in order to replace
Djokovic as No 1 when the new rank-
ings come out today. But the Serb
handed Nadal his first loss on hard
court this year, breaking him in the
second game of the first set and again
in the first game of the second. He
served four aces to Nadal s two and
hit 19 winners to the Spaniard s nine.
"I needed this win today. I really
wanted to get my hands on the trophy
and win against Nadal who has been
the best player so far in 2013," said
Djokovic, who had lost their last three
meetings, including in the US Open
final. Djokovic credited his almost
flawless serve for the win this time,
as well as his ability to keep calm.
He said playing doubles also helped,
both in sharpening his game and
building his confidence.
"That s crucial to get that necessary
confidence when you re playing top
guys, somebody like Nadal, who loves
to get into the rally, loves to be in his
comfort zone and I was always trying
to move him around the court and
I ve done pretty well," Djokovic said.
Djokovic has yet to lose a match in
Beijing. "Center Court is exceptional.
I enjoy it, and I try to cherish every
moment that I spend here. And the
results are showing how much I really
enjoy being here and enjoy playing
in this tournament."
Nadal, the reigning French Open
and US Open champion, has had a
dominant year since returning in Feb-
ruary from a seven-month layoff due
to a left knee injury. He has won ten
titles and reached 12 finals overall,
compiling an ATP Tour-best record
of 65-4 on the season.
He hadn t lost a match since falling
in the opening round at Wimbledon
to 135th-ranked Steve Darcis of Bel-
gium in June, his only previous blip
this year. Nadal also said Djokovic s
serve made the difference.
"I was not able to have any chance
when I was returning through the
whole match," Nadal said. "When
that s happening against a player like
Novak, you are dead."
Yet Nadal seemed to put the set-
back behind him in light of an
extraordinary comeback season that
sees him returning to the top ranking
for the first time since July 2011.
"I am back at the No 1, something
that I really thought that I would
never have the chance to be back
there," he said. "I m playing one of
the best seasons of my career, prob-
ably one of the more emotional years,
if not the most for so many facts."
Williams serve also proved decisive
in the women s final, in which both
players were feeling the effects of a
long season. Jankovic needed treat-
ment after the third game of the sec-
ond set for what appeared to be a
sore back, returning only to lose the
next five straight games.
"I served pretty well tonight. It
was important to serve well because
she s a good returner and it s always
a good plus to do that," said Williams,
who won 74 per cent of the points
when she made her first serve. "The
first game was a little hard but then
I got more into a rhythm tonight."
Williams won the inaugural
women s event in Beijing in 2004
and said her second win was an unex-
pected bonus at the end of a year in
which she has now won 10 titles,
including two Grand Slams.
"I really didn t expect to come and
win this tournament. I just wanted
to do well, she said.
This year s tournament was
plagued by bad pollution in the Chi-
nese capital, but Williams said it
hadn t affected her game.
Djokovic also brushed aside its
impact on the event. "It s not ideal
in terms of pollution," Djokovic said.
"Yes, we ve been talking about the
weather conditions, but it is what it
is, it s something that has been the
same for the last few years that I ve
been coming back here."
Novak Djokovic of Serbia returns a shot to Rafael Nadal of Spain during the
final of the China Open tennis tournament at the National Tennis Stadium
in Beijing, China, yesterday. AP PHOTO
Djokovic beats Nadal 6-3,
6-4 to win China Open
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