Beijing - Novak Djokovic brushed off David Ferrer 6-2, 6-3 on Saturday to reach
the China Open final, where old rival Rafael Nadal stands between the
Serb and a sixth title in Beijing.
Top-ranked Djokovic suffered
the inconvenience of having his service broken for the first time at
this year's tournament but he still raced to his 28th win at an event
where he is yet to be beaten.
In the women's semis, established
names fell to rising stars as Garbine Muguruza beat Agnieszka Radwanska
4-6, 6-3, 6-4 and Timea Bacsinszky knocked out Ana Ivanovic 5-7, 6-4,
And on a cold day in Beijing, Nadal stared down his nemesis
Fabio Fognini 7-5, 6-3 to reach his first hardcourt final this year as
he searches to recover the form which brought him 14 Grand Slam titles.
Nadal, stopped at his beloved French Open by Djokovic this year,
self-effacingly said the world number one was now a class apart despite
his winning record of 23-21 in their head-to-head.
"I know today
Novak is not in my league, it's a different level from me this year,"
Nadal said. "So for me be in the final is a great news and tomorrow is a
match to try to enjoy and try to play the way that I want to play, and
But Djokovic, who is now into his 12th straight final
this year, dismissed Nadal's assessment and said he was expecting a
high-quality title match on Sunday.
"I always expect a battle
with (Nadal)," he said. "I always prepare myself for the battle, no
question about it. He's the player I played the most against in my life.
There are no secrets."
Ten-time major-winner Djokovic had been
irresistible in his run to the semi-finals, dropping only nine games
thus far and he soon had Ferrer gasping with two breaks of serve to go
4-1 ahead in the first set.
Ferrer, who won his 25th career title
last week in Kuala Lumpur, conjured a break of his own but the stung
Djokovic broke straight back and finished the set impressively in the
Two more breaks in the second set put Djokovic on his
way and despite a mini-implosion, when he double-faulted twice and was
broken as he served for the match, a sixth break of the Ferrer serve
earned him victory.
Nadal's path to the
final was much less smooth but he grittily outpunched Fognini, who has
beaten him three times this season and with whom he had a furious
on-court row in the Hamburg final in August.
Nadal denied an extra
edge to the match in Beijing, but his lukewarm handshake at the net and
apparent exchanges between his coach and uncle, Toni Nadal, and Fognini
told a different story.
Nadal won the bad-tempered Hamburg final
but Fognini stunned the Spaniard in last month's US Open third round,
becoming only the fourth player to beat him three times in the same
"No rivalry at all. No, no, no. I don't know what's going
on, seriously," Nadal insisted. "We had the issue that we had in
Hamburg, and that's it. No problems."
Fognini also said the
Hamburg row was in the past but he indicated ill-feeling may remain
against Nadal's team and in particular his coach and uncle, Toni, who
was seen angrily gesticulating courtside.
"What happened in
Hamburg is past, for sure. But I have nothing to say (to Nadal). I have
all respect with him outside and inside the court," said the Italian.
was telling another time, the history (argument) was not against him,
but against his team, especially the uncle. But is something that is
really far away.
"If I have to do something, I do it in the moment. If I do it wrong, I say, 'Sorry'. If I'm right, I'm right, and that's it."