The much-awaited semi-final clash in Beijing between second seed Rafael Nadal (Player Bio) and Tomas Berdych (Player Bio) ended prematurely as the sixth-seeded Czech retired in the opening set due to a back injury. The 27-year-old Spaniard thus capped of his astonishing unbeaten run since early exit from Wimbledon by reoccupying the male tennis throne as he will become No. 1 in ATP rankings again next week. He lost the top spot to Djokovic in July 2011. At the same time, he will be chasing his second China Open title when squaring off against the Serbian archrival in tomorrow’s final.
Nadal – Berdych 4-2 ret.
“[This is] a great year, one of the best years of my career without any doubt,” sad Nadal. “[It] sure is special be back to the top position of the rankings after more than a half year without playing tennis. At the end, it’s just a number… What [makes] me happy is [everything] I did to be back where I am today.”
Richard Gasquet (Player Bio) managed to cause some problems for the top seed in the opening stages of the second semi-final encounter, yet Nole bounced back after 1-3 and got into position to serve for the first set at 5-4. He opened the game with a couple of service winners and ended it with an emphatic forehand smash. The Frenchman then suffered a loss of serve early in the second set and got in even more trouble at 0-30 in the fifth game, yet he prevented Djokovic (Player Bio) taking the next point miraculously with the help of a well executed between-the-legs shot and a follow-up backhand pass. That rally lifted Gasquet’s spirit a bit as he managed to hold the service game, but Novak stepped up again to make it 5-2 after winning a duel at the net. In the final game of the encounter he pulled off a service winner, ace and a smash to secure a spot in the dream final at China Open with a 6-4, 6-2 triumph.
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