Beijing - Novak Djokovic emphatically ended
home hopes at the China Open on Thursday as he beat Zhang Ze to reach the
quarter-finals with his 26th straight win at the tournament.
The world number one, unbeaten in five
appearances in Beijing, had no room for sentiment for Beijing fans as he won
6-2, 6-1 in just 55 minutes on a bright, chilly day.
Wildcard Zhang, China's number one but
ranked 219th in the world, could not contend with the power and precision of
Djokovic's ground strokes as he was broken immediately and soon yielded the
The result was never in doubt and Djokovic
converted his first match point with a dismissive backhand volley as Zhang
struggled at the back of the court.
With 26 wins and no defeats, Djokovic joins
Jimmy Connors in second place on the list of unbeaten starts to a tournament,
behind only Rafael Nadal's 31 at the French Open.
But the day's most historic achievement
came from Ivo Karlovic, who broke Goran Ivanisevic's record for career aces as
he went down to Uruguay's Pablo Cuevas.
The 2.11m Karlovic hammered 26
aces in his 7-6 (7/5), 7-6 (9/7) defeat, reaching a career total of 10 247 and
surpassing compatriot Ivanisevic's 10,237 along the way.
The record was consolation for Karlovic
after his loss to 37th-ranked Cuevas, who is enjoying a dream run in Beijing
after he beat world number five Tomas Berdych in the first round.
The thunderous serve of Karlovic, 36, also
yielded 45 aces in this year's quarter-final victory over Berdych in Halle - the
most recorded in a three-set match.
In the women's draw, last month's US Open
finalists both suffered upsets with New York winner Flavia Pennetta, who will
retire at the end of the season, going out 3-6, 6-4, 6-3 to Anastasia
Pennetta's defeat came after fellow Italian
Roberta Vinci was beaten 6-1, 3-6, 6-2 by Bethanie Mattek-Sands, in yet another
surprise at the unpredictable Beijing tournament.