Djokovic, Wozniacki winners at rain-plagued China Open

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Djokovic, Wozniacki winners at rain-plagued China Open

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Novak Djokovic of Serbia hits a shot during the final against David Ferrer of Spain at the China Open tennis tournament in Beijing on Monday. [REUTERS/YONHAP]


BEIJING - World No. 2 and defending champion Novak Djokovic captured his second title of the year at the China Open on Monday, as Caroline Wozniacki celebrated her new No. 1 ranking with a sixth crown.

Djokovic - who notched an easy 6-2, 6-4 win over Spain’s David Ferrer - qualified for the season-ending ATP championships in London thanks to his stellar week in Beijing, where he won an Olympic bronze in 2008.

“This is definitely a confidence boost for me,” Djokovic said. “Let’s see if I can keep it up.”

The 23-year-old now heads to Shanghai for the Masters, with his first match set for Wednesday.

Djokovic led Ferrer 3-1 in the first set on Sunday when play was suspended at the Olympic Green Tennis Center due to heavy rain, forcing the players to come back for a second day. The Serb seemed energized by Monday’s bright sunshine, picking up where he left off to quickly wrap up the first set as the speedy Ferrer made a number of ill-timed and unforced errors from the back court.

The eighth seeded 28-year-old Spaniard mounted a spirited challenge in the second, taking a 4-2 lead, but the Serb roared back, taking the final four games and the match. Ferrer admitted he had missed his moment, telling reporters: “When I lost that game, I lost my concentration a little bit. I couldn’t come back to play well after that.”

Said Djokovic: “I had a great ending of 2009 starting off with a win here in Beijing, so I sincerely hope I can at least repeat the success that I had in 2009. Energy-wise, I’m fresh.”

In the women’s final under the floodlights, the 20-year-old Wozniacki - who took the WTA’s top ranking on Monday, dethroning the injured Serena Williams - defeated her Russian rival Vera Zvonareva, 6-3, 3-6, 6-3.

The victory was sweet revenge for the top-seeded blonde Dane, who lost to second-seed Zvonareva in the semifinals at the U.S. Open a month ago. The two delighted the crowd with ferocious baseline rallies throughout the two-hour match. Wozniacki was a little tentative at the start of the match but stormed back.

Zvonareva then took charge, forcing a third set on a chilly night. But Wozniacki stepped it up a notch, painting the lines with blistering backhands to build an early 3-0 lead that she would never surrender.

“I think just everything is working for me at the moment. I’ve got to believe I can beat anyone, and I feel in great shape.” Wozniacki said. “I’m really happy about the way everything turned out this week.”

Before her victory in Beijing, the Dane won titles in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida; Copenhagen; Montreal; New Haven, Connecticut; and Tokyo.

Wozniacki’s loss to the 26-year-old Zvonareva at Flushing Meadows was only one of two she has suffered since Wimbledon. In 2011, the Dane said her focus would be on winning a Grand Slam title.

“In a Grand Slam, you have to win seven matches in a row, and that’s not easy. I’ve been close. Next year I will have that as a goal ... if it doesn’t happen next year, I’m still young,” she told reporters.

Zvonareva is projected to take the number three spot in the rankings behind Williams when the new WTA rankings are released later Monday.


AFP

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