Djokovic and Kuznetsova clean up in China
Originally published on: 26/02/10 11:47
Novak Djokovic ensured his name did not join Marin Cilic’s list of top-ranked victims, claiming the China Open title with a 6-2 7-6(4) victory over the towering Croat.
In the women’s final, Svetlana Kuznetsova breezed to a 6-2 6-4 victory against 20-year-old Agnieszka Radwanska at the Beijing Olympic Tennis Center.
Lifting his third Tour title of the season, Djokovic made the most of a 90-minute rain delay early in the match after which he reeled off four straight games to storm through the first set.
Baseline bomber Cilic, who ended No.4 seed Nikolay Davydenko’s bid to seal a berth at the season-ending Barclays ATP World Tour Finals before stunning Rafael Nadal on his way to the final, threw everything he had at Djokovic, but failed to break down the Serbian’s defence.
After falling victim to two unlucky net cords in the final game of the first set, Cilic – a wildcard entrant in Beijing – traded breaks three times with Djokovic, twice failing to serve out the second as the No.2 seed forced a tiebreak.
Djokovic took control after Cilic slipped and fell to go 4-2 up in the breaker, before closing it out on his second match point when the Croatian hit an inside-out forehand wide.
Both players agreed that the rain delay had influenced the outcome of the match, which lasted nearly two hours.
“I certainly played much better after the rain delay,” said Djokovic, who will leapfrog Andy Murray in next week’s rankings after his performance in Beijing. “I kind of got my nerves together – I was very fresh on the court after that.
“Even though it was a straight set win, it wasn’t easy at all.”
Djokovic congratulated Cilic, who had trouble adjusting to the cooler temperatures and the slower on-court conditions after the delay. “I didn’t find the right range. I was a little bit struggling with that,” Cilic admitted.
“He was defending really well and so it was tough to get some free points. I think I didn’t serve well today – in the crucial moments, he played well.”
In the women’s final, No.6 seed Kuznetsova overpowered Agnieszka Radwanska 6-2 6-4 to win the title for the second time in four final appearances.
Kuznetsova, who defeated the Pole earlier this year en route to her second grand slam title at Roland Garros, broke the 20-year-old three times, pinning her to the back of the court with her powerful baseline game.
After sealing an early break in the second, the 24-year-old Russian never looked back, growing in confidence as she coasted towards the finish line, serving out the match against the No.12 seed in fine style.
“Normally I feel tired at the end of the season but now I feel great,” Kuznetsova said, adding the win had given her “great confidence” ahead of the season-ending Sony Ericsson Championships in Doha later this month.
Both women will move up in the rankings after their final appearances. Radwanska returns to the top ten as she looks to surpass her career-high world No.9 ranking, while Kuznetsova, who began the week as world No.6, will return to the top five.
In the doubles, Bob and Mike Bryan won the men’s final, with victory over compatriot Andy Roddick and Bahamian doubles specialist Mark Knowles 6-4 6-2, sealing their sixth title of the year.
China’s Peng Shuai and Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei won the women’s title late Saturday evening, beating Alla Kudryavtseva and Ekaterina Makarova 6-3 6-1.