Beijing: Novak Djokovic won his fourth China Open title in five years on Sunday, prevailing 6-3, 6-4 in the final against Rafael Nadal who will replace him as the men’s world No. 1 on Monday.
The Serb continued his love affair in Beijing, improving his tournament record to 19-0 after brushing aside Nadal to halt his run of three defeats against the Spaniard.
World No. 1 Serena Williams, meanwhile, bagged her 10th title of the year with a 6-2, 6-2 thrashing of Jelena Jankovic.
The top-seeded American broke the eighth-seeded Serb twice in the first set and three times in the second to register her 73rd win of the season.
Serena appeared in pain after serving an ace during the third game of the second set and her serve was broken for the only time in the match in that game as Jankovic went 2-1 ahead.
Earlier, Nadal had to reach the final in the tournament to displace Djokovic from the top ranking and the issue was put to rest on Saturday when Tomas Berdych retired with a back injury in his semi-final against the Spaniard.
“I needed this win today,” Djokovic told reporters. “I really wanted to get my hands on the trophy and win against Nadal, who has been the best player so far in 2013. “It’s very important for my confidence. It’s very important mentally and emotionally for me.”
The 26-year-old Djokovic stamped his authority on the title match early, racing to a 3-0 lead and never allowing the Spaniard, who went into the match unbeaten on hard courts this year, to stage a comeback.
The Serb broke Nadal, who has won 10 tournaments and added over $10 million in prize money in 2013, in the first game of the second set — hitting winners almost at will.
Since winning the Monte-Carlo Masters in April against Nadal, Djokovic had lost to the left-handed Spaniard in the French Open semi-finals, the Rogers Cup semi-finals and the final of the US Open.
“I managed to stay tough and not drop my concentration, which I think (happened) in both Montreal and at the US Open in the important moments,” Djokovic said. “I learned my lesson. It was a few very tough and close matches that I lost against Rafa on hard courts, especially the last one in the US Open final.”
Such was Djokovic’s domination that the 27-year-old Nadal, who boosted his Grand Slam singles tally to 13 this year by winning the French and US Opens, failed to create a single break point opportunity in the whole match.