Djokovic, Wozniacki into China Open final

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BEIJING, Oct. 9 -- Defending champion Novak Djokovic overcame an early challenge from American John Isner to advance to the final of the China Open on Saturday and qualify for next month's season-ending ATP championships.

On the women's side, Caroline Wozniacki and Vera Zvonareva lived up to their one-two seeding, setting up a final that will be a grudge match for the Dane, who lost to the Russian in the semi-finals at the US Open a month ago.

Djokovic, the top seed in Beijing, unleashed an arsenal of crafty drop shots, sliced serves and explosive groundstrokes to defeat Isner in front of a sparse crowd at the Olympic Green Tennis Centre, 7-6 (7/1), 6-2.

The 23-year-old Serb joins world number one Rafael Nadal and 16-time Grand Slam winner Roger Federer as the third player to qualify for the eight-man ATP World Tour Finals in London starting on November 21.

"This is a crown for my achievements, and I'm definitely satisfied with my consistency on the tour," said Djokovic, who will appear at the year-end event for the fourth consecutive season.

Djokovic struggled to find his rhythm at first, conceding an early break to the 25-year-old Isner, who won the longest match in tennis history earlier this year at Wimbledon.

But the world number two rallied back to 3-3, and the pair went to a tiebreak, sealed by the Serb with a fine crosscourt forehand winner.

Isner never regained his confidence in the second set, and Djokovic steamrollered past him, repeatedly catching the big American flat-footed with his blistering play from the backcourt.

"He's playing really well and he's really confident.... I felt like he was on top of his game," Isner said.

In Sunday's final, Djokovic - the 2008 Australian Open champion - will face either Spanish eighth seed David Ferrer or big-serving Croatian Ivan Ljubicic, who ousted second seed Andy Murray in the quarter-finals on Friday.

Wozniacki, who takes over the world number one ranking on Monday on the back of her performance in Beijing, used her power from the baseline to overcome a knee strain and beat Israel's Shahar Peer, 7-5, 6-2.

Peer broke the 20-year-old Dane early in the first set, but Wozniacki roared back to a 5-2 lead. She then faltered, failing to convert on multiple set points before the Israeli finally conceded the set on a baseline error.

In the second, Wozniacki - her left knee heavily strapped after a scare on Friday - again fell behind but turned the tide, smacking a cross-court forehand to go up 4-2. She put the match away two games later on a Peer error.

When asked about the injury, the blonde Dane said: "It felt better today than it did yesterday.... I had the tape for support. I still felt it a little bit, but it's not getting worse, so that's a positive thing."

"I'm just thinking about trying to be 100 percent fit for tomorrow, and I'm going to go out there and fight," Wozniacki said.

Zvonareva had no trouble defeating China's Li Na, the ninth seed, who never really got into the match and struggled with her serve, surrendering six breaks.

"It's always tough to play against Caroline, but it's a great challenge and I like the challenge," Zvonareva said.

"We have had some tough matches against each other. The US Open was two months ago. It's in the past. Tomorrow is going to be a new day."

Posted on: 2010-10-09 06:55 Published by HT Syndication with permission from For any query with respect to this article or any other content requirement, please contact Editor at

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