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Djokovic, Nadal to Vie For Beijing Crown

Beijing, China

Djokovic© GettyNovak Djokovic is looking to win his fourth Beijing title.

Top seed Novak Djokovic set a China Open final clash against second seed Rafael Nadal, after dismantling fifth seed Richard Gasquet 6-4, 6-2 on Saturday night in Beijing.

Djokovic and Nadal will clash for the 38th time on Sunday, one day before Nadal officially overtakes Djokovic atop the Emirates ATP Rankings. Djokovic is looking stop a three-match losing run against the Spaniard. The contest comes four weeks after the pair met in the US Open final, where Nadal prevailed in four sets.

Read: Djokovic Vs. Nadal Rivalry

The Serb fired six aces during his semi-final against Gasquet, and prevailed in 80 minutes. After trailing 1-3 in the opening set, Djokovic rallied to break his opponent four times to seal a finals berth. 

"He started well, but he wasn't managing to hold that rhythm throughout the whole match," assessed Djokovic. "I knew that if I stayed with him and be aggressive in the rallies and believe that I can kind of impose my own control and rhythm of the game and of the rallies that I could break his rhythm. That's what I've done. Especially on the forehand side it's been working quite well."

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Djokovic, who extended his FedEx ATP Head2Head record over Gasquet to 9-1, is unbeaten in Beijing (18-0 record) and is bidding to win the title for the fourth time, following victories in 2009-10 and 2012.

The 26-year-old Djokovic is hoping to capture 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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Italians Topple Top Seeds
In doubles action, Fabio Fognini and Andreas Seppi fought back from an early deficit to upset top seeds Daniel Nestor and Leander Paes 3-6, 7-5, 10-8 in 81 minutes.

Before the China Open, the duo had not won a match together in 2013. The Italian team will battle the unseeded Belarusian/Romanian team of Max Mirnyi and Horia Tecau in Sunday's final. Mirnyi and Tecau are chasing their third ATP World Tour title as a team this season, following success in 's-Hertogenbosch and Bucharest.

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