World number one Novak Djokovic continued his love affair with the China Open on Saturday, dumping Andy Murray 6-3, 6-4 to storm into his fifth final in Beijing where he has been simply unstoppable. The 27-year-old Serb took an hour and 37 minutes to down Murray for an impressive 23-0 record in Beijing and meets the winner of the other semi-final between Tomas Berdych and Martin Klizan in Sunday’s final. In the women’s section, French Open champion Maria Sharapova outplayed former number one Ana Ivanovic 6-0, 6-4 to set up a final clash with third seed Petra Kvitova who overcame Sam Stosur 6-3, 5-7, 6-2.
Looking to add to his four Beijing titles, Djokovic completely outplayed Murray as he looks to finish the year as the number one. “I’m glad that I’m back in the form that I would like to be in, especially in these courts where I still haven’t lost ever since I played this tournament,” the top seed said. “Hopefully, I can finish the year in style, similar as I finished last year.”
Murray, fresh from his first victory in more than a year at last week’s Shenzhen Open, put up more resistance in the second set but could not crack Djokovic’s solid defence and smashed his racquet in frustration after being broken in the ninth game.
“It was a two-set victory today (Saturday), but still it felt like I had to work hard to win the points,” said Djokovic, chasing his fifth Tour title of the season. “There was a lot of rally exchanges. He had a lot of chances to come back. He was 4-3 up. Just in important moments I managed to play the better tennis.
“The comfortable hold at 4-3 probably allowed me to have that relief, because obviously I didn’t want him to break me and get into a third set where it can go either way.” Djokovic restricted the Scot to only seven winners and denied him four of his five break point chances. With his semi-final appearance, Murray has moved up to ninth place in the race to season-ending ATP Finals in London, which will feature the top eight. In the women section, Kvitova survived some tense moments before taming Stosur to get within a win of being the world number two.