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Djokovic Surges Into Semis; Lopez Battles

Beijing, China

Djokovic© AFP/Getty ImagesNovak Djokovic improved to a 12-0 record in Beijing.

World No. 2 Novak Djokovic is two wins away from winning a third China Open crown after storming into the Beijing semi-finals in under an hour against Jurgen Melzer on Friday.

The Serb improved to a perfect 12-0 record at this ATP World Tour 500 hard court tournament as he fired 12 aces and converted all four of his break points for a 6-1, 6-2 victory in 53 minutes.

"I have stepped up at least a level in each match that I have played here," said Djokovic. "But I am trying to be more aggressive and to have more efficiency on my serve. The serve was great tonight. It's one of the best serving matches I have had in my career, so that's a positive sign. I will try to keep on going."

The 25-year-old Djokovic won the Beijing title on his first two visits in 2009 (d. Cilic) and 2010 (d. Ferrer). He is bidding to win his fourth tour-level title of the season after victories at the Australian Open (d. Nadal), the Sony Open Tennis in Miami (d. Murray) and the Rogers Cup in Toronto (d. Gasquet).

For a place in his ninth tour-level final of the season, Djokovic will face Germany’s Florian Mayer. Djokovic has won the pair’s past two meetings, including in this year’s Wimbledon quarter-finals. "He has won against some good players this week," said Djokovic. "I know I'm the favourite in the match and obviously expected to go to the finals. But I cannot underestimate any opponent. He's there for a reason, so I will try to focus and win that match."

Spain’s Feliciano Lopez reached his third ATP World Tour semi-final of the season as he broke serve in the final game of the match to defeat American Sam Querrey 4-6, 6-4, 6-4. The No. 30-ranked Lopez fired 12 aces and saved 13 of the 17 break points he faced to claim victory in two hours and 26 minutes, having won one point less than Querrey.

The left-handed Lopez improved to a 23-22 match record on the season and is bidding to reach his first ATP World Tour final since finishing runner-up at the Serbia Open in Belgrade last May (l. to Djokovic).

In the semi-finals, Lopez will face third-seeded Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, against whom he trails 0-4 in their FedEx ATP Head2Head series.

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