World number one Novak Djokovic destroyed Tomas Berdych in a lop-sided contest to win his fifth China Open crown on Sunday while Maria Sharapova overcame Petra Kvitova in the women’s final to move up to number two in the world rankings. Top seed Djokovic took 67 minutes to seal a 6-0 6-2 win against Berdych, who raised his arms in celebration when he won a game to avoid the ignominy of a double bagel with the Serb serving for the match at 5-0 in the second set.
Berdych managed to win back-to-back games, but it was just a matter of time before Djokovic sealed an easy win to continue his love affair with the Beijing tournament where he now has a 24-0 record.
“This was probably the best performance in a final I ever had,” a beaming Djokovic said after the masterclass. “Everything I tried worked, it was incredible. Beijing is definitely my lucky place, I enjoy being here,” he said before throwing his wristbands and towel to an ecstatic crowd. “Since my first China win in 2009 I have not lost a match on this court. It keeps on going,” said Djokovic who belted 19 winners, compared to his opponent’s nine.
A never-seen-before hiding
Berdych conceded he had not experienced such a mauling before.
“I met somebody in the final who I’ve never seen before,” said Berdych. “The way that he performed today was really outstanding. There is really not much I can add to that because, really, I was just swept off the court. I just said to my coach now that I probably played over 700 matches in my career, and I met guys like Andre (Agassi), Roger (Federer), all those probably in their best times. But I have never, ever experienced anything like that.”
Earlier in the women’s final, Wimbledon champion Kvitova broke her opponent in the very first game but Sharapova showed greater intensity towards the end to prevail 6-4 2-6 6-3 in two hours and 28 minutes. French Open champion Sharapova broke her Czech opponent twice to claim the first set, but Kvitova unleashed 15 winners in the second to force a decider.
Sharapova, having dropped her first set in the tournament, raised her game in the third, racing to a 3-0 lead but could not capitalise on her first match point at 5-2 with an inside out forehand into the net. She eventually served out the match and raised her hands in celebration after Kvitova buried a return into the net.
“It was a bit of an up-and-down match I’d say — maybe not the best out of the tournament,” Sharapova told reporters. “But it’s never easy playing against Petra. You don’t always quite get a good rhythm. She goes for a lot of shots, very deep, and she’s a very good, confident player.
“She became the more aggressive player in the second set. I think I took a few too many steps back and let her play that way. But I was able to lift my game again in the third and come out with a win,” she added.
Sharapova hit 18 winners compared to Kvitova’s 25 but committed 15 less unforced errors than her opponent’s 44 to prevail in the three-setter. Kvitova, who won in Wuhan last week, conceded she had succumbed to fatigue towards the end of the contest.
“I was tired, but it was a final, and every time I’m playing a final, I’m giving everything I have inside,” the Czech said. “What I did today was a great battle. It was small things and small points that make the difference in the end. I had some chances but Maria just didn’t let them go. She just played really well. And we played two and a half (hours), so I hope the fans enjoyed it too,” she added.