BEIJING: Novak Djokovic continued his 100 percent record at the China Open Wednesday overcoming late resistance from Vasek Pospisil to win 6-3, 7-5, while Petra Kvitova powered through her women’s singles match.
The number one seed in Beijing was playing at his dominating best in the first set, breaking serve in the third and final games as he appeared to be in control.
But the Serb lost his trademark composure midway through the second set, screaming to himself in anger as he failed to capitalize on a break point in the fourth game.
Canadian Pospisil was in the ascendancy three games later, drawing level at 40-40 with a brilliant cross-court shot which left the world number one flat-footed.
The 41st ranked player in the world then went on to force break-point and took the game following an incredible 26-shot rally.
But his valiant fight back was in vain when a clearly relieved Djokovic won the next game, punching the air with delight and screaming as he made it 5-5.
Djokovic then took the next two games as he closed in on victory, and moments later was dancing to the applause of the crowd as a dejected Pospisil made his way to the court exit.
Djokovic is bidding for his fifth title in Beijing, a tournament he has won every year since 2009 apart from 2011 when he did not take part.
In the women’s competition, world number three Kvitova opened her campaign to win a second consecutive event in China in commanding style.
The Czech player defeated home-crowd favorite Peng Shuai 6-4, 6-2 in her first match since her victory at the Wuhan Open last Saturday, advancing in Beijing with the same confidence she showed at the earlier tournament.
Peng, who made the semi-finals at the US Open last month, took a 2-0 lead before the Wimbledon champion stormed back, winning 12 of the next 16 games and wrapping up the match in just 66 minutes.
Peng throughout the match had difficulty dealing with her left-handed opponent’s powerful serves.
“Some of the players, they didn’t really get used to left-handers’ serves,” Kvitova said.
“So I think that’s my advantage,” she said, adding that “the serve helped me a lot”.
Kvitova will now meet 16th seed Venus Williams for a tricky third-round match.
The third seed in Beijing has enjoyed a return to consistency in China after a poor run in the North American swing.
She won her second tournament of the year at New Haven, but crashed out of the US Open in the third round to 145th-ranked Serbian qualifier Aleksandra Krunic.
Kvitova then lost to Elina Svitolina of Ukraine, her quarter-final opponent in Wuhan, in her opening match in Cincinnati.
With her victory in Wuhan, the 24-year-old confirmed her place at the WTA Finals in Singapore, the end-of-season finale involving the world’s top eight women players. Those who have already made it to the tournament include world number one Serena Williams, Maria Sharapova (4) and Simona Halep (2).
World number eight Caroline Wozniacki was hoping to confirm her place at the tournament with a deep run in Beijing, but crashed out in her first match at the hands of Samantha Stosur.
Stosur, the 2011 US Open winner, has had a miserable run in China lately, falling at the Guangzhou Open and in Wuhan in her opening matches.
But the world number 21 was the more composed as the two players battled in a tense second-set tie break, saving five set points against her Danish opponent as she wrapped up her 6-4, 7-6 (11/9) victory.
The China Open is being held at the Olympic Park in the Chinese capital and will reach its climax on October 5.