China Open: Djokovic extends streak to 27-0, joins Nadal in semis
BEIJING — Novak Djokovic extended his winning streak to 27 matches at the China Open with a 6-2, 6-2 win over John Isner on Friday to secure a place in the semifinals.
The top-ranked Djokovic has never lost a match at the tournament, and his victory over the big-serving American means he has won 23 consecutive sets.
Relying on his outstanding return, Djokovic restricted Isner to just three aces. He didn’t face a breakpoint, and only dropped nine points on his own serve.
"Conditions didn’t help him, didn’t help his serve," Djokovic said. "I was feeling like I can get a lot of balls back in play and make him move, which was one of the intentions tactically in order to be successful today."
Djokovic moved into a semifinal match against fourth-seeded David Ferrer, who beat wild-card entry Lu Yen-hsun 6-3, 6-1 to join fellow Spaniard Rafael Nadal in the last four.
Third-seeded Nadal reached his first hard-court semifinal of the year by outlasting Jack Sock of the United States 3-6, 6-4, 6-3.
After dropping serve twice in the opening set, Nadal only faced one more break point, which he saved.
"For sure, be in semifinals here is a very positive result for me in a very tough tournament, and be able to at least play four matches here is great news for me," he said.
Nadal had lost before the semifinals in seven previous hard-court tournaments. His last title on hard courts came in Doha, Qatar, in January 2014.
Next up for Nadal is Italy’s Fabio Fognini, who has beaten him three times this season, including in the third round of the U.S. Open. Fognini advanced with a 6-1, 2-6, 6-2 win over Pablo Cuevas of Uruguay.
"When you play against a great player, especially if you don’t play to your best, your chances are lower," Nadal said. "Fognini play better in the three matches that he beat me. I was not unhappy at all after the U.S. Open loss. I didn’t play a very bad match."
In the women’s quarterfinals, Switzerland’s Timea Bacsinszky rebounded to defeat Sara Errani of Italy 0-6, 6-3, 7-5 to move within one win of cracking the top 10 for the first time in her career.
Errani was a point away from taking a 6-0, 3-0 lead in the match when Bacsinszky suddenly rallied to win nine of the next 10 games to take the second set and go up 3-0 in the third.
"I looked at my coach and I told him, `Yeah, well, maybe it’s going to be the first day when I’m going to get double bagel," Bacsinszky said about the possibility of losing 6-0, 6-0. "I was ready for that."
In other matches, fourth-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland defeated Germany’s Angelique Kerber 6-1, 6-4, and sixth-seeded Ana Ivanovic advanced with a 6-3, 7-5 win over Russia’s Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.