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Djokovic Races Into Beijing Semis

Beijing, China

Djokovic© GettyNovak Djokovic is chasing a fourth China Open title.

Rafael Nadal will have to wait at least another day before getting his hands on the No. 1 Emirates ATP Ranking after Novak Djokovic recorded a thumping 6-1, 6-2 quarter-final win over Sam Querrey on Friday night at the China Open in Beijing.

Djokovic must win the Beijing title for the fourth time if he is to have the chance to stay No. 1, but it will be out of his hands if Nadal reaches the final at this ATP World Tour 500 hard-court tournament. Djokovic has reigned at No. 1 for a total of 101 weeks so far.

The Serb was in devastating form at the National Tennis Stadium on Friday, losing just five points on serve in the 53-minute rout. Djokovic converted four of his 12 break point chances to ensure there was no repeat of Querrey’s upset win from losing a 6-0 first set when they met 12 months ago at the BNP Paribas Masters in Paris.

"To get free points on your serve is necessary and needed," said Djokovic. "I played a big server tonight. I managed to read his serve well and managed to always make him play an extra shot. I think that was a perfect performance overall. Good combination between serving efficiently and returning basically every serve back."

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Djokovic has a perfect 17-0 mark in Beijing and is bidding to win the title for the fourth time, following victories in 2009-10 and 2012. For a place in the final he will face Richard Gasquet, against whom he has an 8-1 FedEx ATP Head2Head record. In their last meeting, Djokovic dropped just three games in the Montreal quarter-finals. 

"He was always one of the most talented players in our generation," said Djokovic. "I think in the last two years he's been playing the tennis of his life. In terms of consistency, he's up there. We're expecting a tough match for both of us. There is no question about it. I need to be aggressive. I know what I need to do against him. Hopefully it's going to work."

The 26-year-old Djokovic is chasing his fourth title of the season and first since dethroning eight-time champion Nadal at the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters in April. He also triumphed at the Australian Open (d. Murray) and the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships (d. Berdych). 

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