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Monday October 8, 2012

China Open: Hat-trick for Djokovic while Azarenka captures the women’s crown

BEIJING: World number two Novak Djokovic overcame Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France in straight sets oyesterday to win the China Open for a third time.

The 25-year-old Serb defeated the world number seven 7-6 (7-4), 6-2 to maintain his unbeaten record at the ATP 500 tournament in Beijing and take the the winner’s prize of US$530,570.

Djokovic has won the China Open every time he has entered, his previous titles coming in 2009 and 2010 before he missed last year because of injury, and his record at the tournament now stands at 14-0.

He is pressing to beat Roger Federer to the year-end number one spot in the world rankings and said he was “delighted” at his latest triumph.

Back on form: Novak Djokovic celebrating after beating Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the China Open final in
Beijing yesterday. — EPA Back on form: Novak Djokovic celebrating after beating Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the China Open final in Beijing yesterday. — EPA

“It’s an amazing feeling to win this trophy in the new stadium,” he said of the capital’s National Tennis Stadium, which had yet to be built the last time he won in Beijing.

Little separated the players throughout the entire opening set. The first four games went to serve before Tsonga made a breakthrough in the fifth game, breaking Djokovic without losing a point.

But the Serb immediately broke back and the next six games went with serve to force a tie break, where Djokovic raced to a 4-1 lead.

Tsonga won two quick points before Djokovic spurned an opportunity while 5-3 ahead, pushing a simple forehand shot well wide.

But two mistakes from the Frenchman, including a backhand half volley into the net, gave the tie break and set to Djokovic.

The first two service games of the second set were held before Djokovic broke in the third and was spurred on to take the next two games, establishing a 4-1 lead, then came from behind to hold serve in the sixth.

Tsonga held in the seventh before Djokovic did the same to take the set and the match in one hour and 41 minutes.

World number one Victoria Azarenka thrashed second seed Maria Sharapova of Russia in straight sets yesterday to win the US$4.8mil China Open.

The Belarusian dispatched Sharapova, ranked number two in the world, 6-3, 6-1, in the final of the Beijing tournament - the last Premier Mandatory event of the women’s calendar.

Azarenka, 23, sped to a 4-0 lead in the first set against the French Open champion, breaking her opponent’s serve twice and holding her own on both occasions.

Sharapova, 25, won her first game in the fifth, before Australian Open champion Aza­renka continued her 100% service game in the sixth.

The Russian responded by upping her serving and return shorts, winning two games in a row, but it was too little too late. — AFP

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