Djokovic thumps Nadal for fourth China Open crown

Sun Oct 6, 2013 7:42pm EDT
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(Reuters) - Novak Djokovic won his fourth China Open title in five years on Sunday, prevailing 6-3 6-4 in the final against Rafael Nadal who will replace him as the men's world number one on Monday.

The Serb continued his love affair in Beijing, improving his tournament record to 19-0 after brushing aside Nadal to halt his run of three defeats against the Spaniard.

Nadal had to reach the final in the tournament to displace Djokovic from the top ranking and the issue was put to rest on Saturday when Tomas Berdych retired with a back injury in his semi-final against the Spaniard.

"I needed this win today," Djokovic told reporters. "I really wanted to get my hands on the trophy and win against Nadal, who has been the best player so far in 2013.

"It's very important for my confidence. It's very important mentally and emotionally for me."

The 26-year-old Djokovic stamped his authority on the title match early, racing to a 3-0 lead and never allowing the Spaniard, who went into the match unbeaten on hard courts this year, to stage a comeback.

The Serb broke Nadal, who has won 10 tournaments and added over $10 million in prize money in 2013, in the first game of the second set - hitting winners almost at will.

Since winning the Monte-Carlo Masters in April against Nadal, Djokovic had lost to the left-handed Spaniard in the French Open semi-finals, the Rogers Cup semi-finals and the final of the U.S. Open.

"I managed to stay tough and not drop my concentration, which I think (happened) in both Montreal and at the U.S. Open in the important moments," Djokovic said.   Continued...

Novak Djokovic of Serbia kisses the trophy after winning his men's singles final match against Rafael Nadal of Spain at the China Open tennis tournament in Beijing October 6, 2013. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon