Beijing: Five-time champion Novak Djokovic and 2005 champion Rafael Nadal set up a dream men’s singles final at the China Open on Saturday.
Third seed Nadal finally played one of his best matches at this year’s China Open, outlasting nemesis Fabio Fognini of Italy 7-5, 6-3, reported Xinhua.
Nadal and Fognini faced each other just four times prior to 2015, Nadal emerging victorious on each occasion. But coming into the China Open, they had played that many times this year alone, Fognini having reversed his fortunes with three victories, including a stunning come-from-behind third-round shocker at the US Open.
Playing his first hardcourt semifinal of the year in the Chinese capital, the Spaniard had total control of the match and secured the final spot in one hour and 40 minutes.
“He’s a great player, a great and talented player,” Nadal said of Fognini. “It was a tough first set, as I expected. Tough match in general. But I think I played well. I played much closer to the baseline than the previous days. That’s very important for me, very important for my game. The position for me on the court today was more aggressive, and that’s why I was able to beat him today after a couple of defeats.”
Djokovic, who is looking for a record sixth title at Beijing, had a much easier time of it, dispatching fourth seed David Ferrer of Spain 6-2, 6-3 in the other semifinal in just one hour and 14 minutes.
Djokovic now is compiling a 28-match winning streak in men’s singles in Beijing, and the world number one’s form in Beijing this week has been nearly flawless and he just dropped 14 games in four matches.
And on back of his hot form, Nadal felt pessimistic about the coming final.
“I know today Novak is not my league, is a different level of me this year,” said Nadal.
“So for me being in the final is a great news and tomorrow is a match to try to enjoy and try to play the way that I want to play, and we’ll see.”
The women’s singles final will feature Timea Bacsinszky of Switzerland vs Garbine Muguruza of Spain.
Compared to the men’s semifinals, the women’s semifinals proved to be more absorbing.
Both of the matches were played in full sets. 12th seed Bacsinszky had to battle two hours 20 minutes before sending 6th seed Ana Ivanovic crashing, 5-7, 6-4, 6-1.
While rising star Muguruza also needed two hours 13 minutes to come back from one set down and edge past fourth seed Agnieszka Radwanska from Poland 4-6, 6-3, 6-4.
In the women’s doubles final, the world’s top team Martina Hingis of Switzerland and Indian Sania Mirza defeated Chinese Taipei’s sister pair of Chan Hao-Ching/Chan Yung-Jan in full sets.
It’s the golden pair’s eighth WTA doubles title of the year and also a back-to-back title in China after they triumphed at Wuhan Open last week.
First Published | 11 October 2015 12:22 PM