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Djokovic Trumps Nadal To Win Fourth Beijing Crown

Beijing, China

Nadal, Djokovic© Getty ImagesNovak Djokovic ended a run of three defeats against Rafael Nadal.

Novak Djokovic won his fourth China Open crown on Sunday with a 6-3, 6-4 victory over Rafael Nadal. The day before the Serb surrenders his No. 1 spot in the Emirates ATP Rankings to Nadal, he won their 38th contest and captured his fourth tour-level crown of the season.

"I needed this win today," said Djokovic. "I really wanted to get my hands on the trophy and win against Nadal, who has been the best player so far in 2013. It's very important for my confidence. It's very important mentally and emotionally for me."

Djokovic has a 19-0 record in Beijing, also winning the title in 2009 (d. Cilic), 2010 (d. Ferrer) and 2012 (d. Tsonga). He is the first four-time winner of this ATP World Tour 500 hard-court tournament and received 500 Emirates ATP Rankings points and $557,100.

"It's been an incredible week again for me at the China Open," said Djokovic. "I still haven't lost a match here. I just love the conditions. I love the court and the atmosphere that goes around the tournament. Centre court is exceptional, and I enjoy it. I try to cherish every moment that I spend here every year."

Djokovic ended a run of three defeats against Nadal as he improved to a 16-22 mark in their FedEx ATP Head2Head series. Since dethroning eight-time champion Nadal in the final of the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters in April, Djokovic had lost to Nadal in the Roland Garros semi-finals, the Rogers Cup semi-finals and the US Open final.

Watch Final Highlights

"I managed to stay tough and not drop my concentration, which I think [happened] in both Montréal and at the US Open in the important moments," said Djokovic. "I learned my lesson. It was a few very tough and close matches that I lost against Rafa on hard courts, especially the last one in the US Open final."

The battle for No. 1 had been decided on Saturday, when Nadal reached the Beijing final with victory over Tomas Berdych in the semi-finals. But Djokovic regrouped quickly and made a fast start to the final, breaking serve in Nadal’s first service game before going on to close out the 35-minute first set, having dropped just two points on serve.

Djokovic built on his momentum with an early break in the second set and was again impenetrable on serve, surrendering just four points as he closed out victory in 87 minutes.

"I didn't see the way to stop him this afternoon," said Nadal. "This afternoon he was too strong for me. I didn't play my best match this afternoon, but he played at a very high level with his serve. 

"I was not able to have any chance when I was returning during the whole match. He had the ball staying very low. It was very difficult to create spin on this ball. He was able to hit all the balls where he wanted. When that's happening against a player like Novak, you are dead. You don't have not one chance."

The 26-year-old Djokovic opened his season with victory at the Australian Open (d. Murray) and won his second title of the season at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships (d. Berdych). He has a 38-21 finals record.

Nadal had been riding a 22-match winning streak, winning titles at the Rogers Cup, the Western & Southern Open (d. Isner) and the US Open since suffering a shock first-round exit at Wimbledon (l. to Darcis). He had been chasing his 11th tour-level title of an astonishing comeback season, which has seen him compile a 65-4 match record and reclaim World No. 1 for the first time since 3rd July 2011. 

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