Djokovic eases into Beijing quarters
Novak Djokovic was happy to reach the China Open quarterfinals in straight sets Wednesday as he targets his fourth title of the season and presses his bid to be crowned year-end world No 1.
The Serb, second in the world rankings behind Roger Federer, dismantled unseeded Argentine Carlos Berlocq 6-1, 6-3 to extend his unbeaten record at an event he won in 2009 and 2010 and missed last year through injury.
Djokovic is playing his first tournament since losing last month's US Open final to Andy Murray, and looked ring-rusty in the first round when he was taken to three sets by Germany's Michael Berrer.
But the five-time Grand Slam-winner, 25, won the first set against Berlocq in only 25 minutes and raced to a 5-0 lead in the second. He then lost three games carelessly and was relieved to wrap it up without playing a third set.
"It was an interesting couple of games at the end of the match where he came up with some good shots and we played some entertaining points," Djokovic said.
"I should have done a better job in winning those games and winning this match earlier but in the end I won in straight sets. That's what matters the most."
The top seed will play Austrian Jurgen Melzer in the next round. Melzer knocked out sixth seed Alexandr Dolgopolov in three sets.
Djokovic's main challenger for the title, third seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France, enjoyed an easy passage when his opponent Nikolay Davydenko pulled out ahead of their match citing an injury.