Sharapova, Djokovic rule China Open

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Maria Sharapova AFP PHOTO

Maria Sharapova AFP PHOTO

BEIJING: Novak Djokovic described his crushing 6-0, 6-2 win over Tomas Berdych at the China Open Sunday as his greatest ever final, as his remarkable 100 percent record in Beijing continues.

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French Open champion Maria Sharapova was forced to battle hard to overcome Petra Kvitova 6-4, 2-6, 6-3 in the women’s final — a victory which moves her into second place in the rankings.

Serb Djokovic was 5-0 ahead in the second set, one game from serving up an incredible “double bagel” as he tore through his Czech opponent with a brilliant serving display.

As he was staring at an embarrassing defeat, a stunned Berdych laughed as he pretended to hand his racket to a ball-girl, suggesting that she may be able to take on his opponent.

But the world number six rallied briefly to take Djokovic’s serve and then take the scores to a more respectable 5-2, before the reigning champion sealed his fifth title in Beijing, an event he has won the five times he has entered.

“This has been, under the circumstances, probably the best performance in all finals in my career I played. It was incredible. Incredible,” said Djokovic.

In the women’s final, it was a gritty performance from current world number four Sharapova, who handed Kvitova her first loss in nine games.

The fourth seed Russian appeared to have carried into the match the determination she showed in her powerful 6-0, 6-4 semi-final defeat of Serbian world number nine Ana Ivanovic.

Kvitova, the world number three, broke serve in the first game, but Sharapova fought back to win the opener.

The Czech 24-year-old was dominant in the second set, but Sharapova responded well in the third to seal her fourth title of the year.

“After exchanging breaks in the first set, I was happy. I felt like I stepped it up,” Sharapova said. AFP

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