Following relatively comfortable straight set victories in their respective semi-final battles, world No. 1 Novak Djokovic and Tomas Berdych are through to the final of the China Open in Beijing, where they will now contest their 18th meeting on the ATP World Tour. Djokovic leads the head to head series 15-2 and has not lost to Berdych since the Rome Masters in 2013.
While Djokovic was forced to work for his victory in the semi-final round, the scoreboard will show a relatively smooth victory for the Serb, 6-3, 6-4, against British No. 1 Andy Murray.
“It was a two-set victory today, but still it felt like I had to work hard to win the points,” said Djokovic. “There was a lot of rally exchanges. He had a lot of chances to come back. He was 4-3 up. Just in important moments I managed to play the better tennis. The comfortable hold at 4-3 probably allowed me to have that relief, because obviously I didn’t want him to break me and get into a third set where it can go either way.”
Djokovic dominated Murray’s second serve during the match and did not allow the Scot a comfortable lead at any point in the match. He eventually finished the match in 1 hour and 37 minutes to improve to 14-8 against Murray, and 23-0 in Beijing.
“I’m glad that I’m back in the form that I would like to be in, especially in these courts where I still haven’t lost ever since I played this tournament,” said Djokovic. “Hopefully I can finish the year in style, similar as I finished last year.”
His opponent, Tomas Berdych will contest the China Open final following a 6-4, 6-1 victory over Rafael Nadal vanquisher Martin Klizan. It was a tight encounter for the opening eight games but once Berdych found his breakthrough, he proceeded to win eight of the following nine games to storm into the final. The 2011 champion will now look for his second title in Beijing and an opportunity to clinch one of the remaining spots in the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals.
This marks the 18th time that Djokovic and Berdych will meet on the professional tour, with the top seed leading the series with a hefty 15-2 lead. Berdych has never defeated Djokovic on hard court and will be hard-pressed to do so on this particular occasion. While he may push this final to three sets, it is unlikely that Berdych will lift the title this season.
Prediction: Novak Djokovic in Three Sets