In Beijing, the finals of the China Open, an ATP 500 tourney, featured Serb Novak Djokovic, the second seed, against Croat Marin Cilic, a wildcard seeded eight. Djokovic prevailed 6-2, 7-6 for his third title of the year in his ninth attempt. Moreover, with Andy Murray missing in action this week, Djokovic regained the number three spot.
Yesterday in the semifinals, Cilic took apart top seed Rafael Nadal. Meeting Djokovic for the fourth time, the talented Croat looked prepared to grasp his first win vis-à-vis the Serb. With a forehand crosscourt winner, Cilic had his first break point chance. However, with a forehand winner down the line, Djokovic managed to erase it. Cilic got two more chances, yet, was denied every time by Djokovic. After Cilic held comfortably, Djokovic reciprocated with an easy game. But serving at 2 all, great offense by Cilic after a second serve offering by Djokovic set up double break point. Novak was saved by Marin’s forehand brushing the top of the net to go out and botching another forehand after reaching a mediocre dropshot. Now at deuce, rain caused a lengthy pause in the action. When play resumed, Djokovic gave Cilic another break opportunity with a backhand error. However, a return backhand error and lucky lob allowed Djokovic to preserve the game. Unable to capitalize on multiple break chances, Cilic made three consecutive errors to donate triple break point. Although Cilic wiped those out, Novak brought Marin in with a dropshot in a long rally then lobbed a winner for break point. When Cilic erred with a forehand up the line, Djokovic had a 4-2 lead. After readily consolidating, Djokovic produced a forehand up the line winner for break point and secured the set when another of Cilic’s forehand went long by clipping the net.