Beijing - World number one Novak Djokovic overcame Spain's Rafael Nadal in
straight sets on Sunday to win the China Open and maintain a remarkable
100% record in the Beijing tournament.
champion, who has won the event the four times he has entered, was at
his ruthless best to defeat Nadal 6-3, 6-4, a day before he is set to be
unseated at the top of the world rankings by the number two Spaniard.
The result was Nadal's first hardcourt loss of the season.
second seed in Beijing only showed rare glimpses of the form that has
seen him win 10 titles this year, with his Serbian opponent racing to a
3-0 lead in the first ten minutes.
Top seed Djokovic then powered ahead, showing formidable power-hitting to take the first set 25 minutes later.
pair displayed incredible movement in the opening game of the second
set, engaging in quickfire net-play, much to the delight of the crowd.
Nadal came out on top of that duel, winning the point, but Djokovic took the game to break serve.
Djokovic then kept his nerve, holding serve until the conclusion of the match on one hour 27 minutes.
victory represents a sweet one for Djokovic, who is spending his 101st
week at number one, and will have his current streak of 48 weeks ended
on Monday when the ATP announce its new rankings with Nadal at the top.
The Spaniard only needed to make the final to unseat him.
After the match, Djokovic congratulated Nadal on his achievement.
have to say congratulations to Rafael because he deserves definitely to
be number one of the world this year with the season that he has had,"
he said in an interview on court.
"He is the best player so far in 2013, there is no question about it.
"I am just very happy to be able to continue to play well and hopefully I can maintain the rhythm."
has been in dominant form at the China Open, where he has an unbeaten
run stretching back to 2009.
He did not attend in 2011.
had the beating of Djokovic this season, coming out on top at the
semi-finals at Roland Garros and last month's final at the US Open, as
well as the Canada Masters.
But he said that Djokovic was "too
strong" for him in Beijing at the serve.
Nadal did not break his
opponent throughout the match.
"I didn't play my best match this
afternoon. But he played at a greater level with his serve.
"I was not
able to have any chance when I was returning during the whole match.
was able to hit all the balls where he wanted to hit them, so when that
is happening against a player like Novak you are dead."
return to the top for the first time since July 2011 marks an
astonishing comeback for the 13-time Grand Slam champion, who spent the
second half of last year on the sidelines injured.
the match at Beijing's National Tennis Centre, the pair had played each
other 37 times, with Nadal leading the rivalry 22-15.
The winner of the China Open takes $557,100 prize money and 500 ATP Points.