THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
BEIJING — Top-seeded Novak Djokovic extended his perfect record at the China Open when he defeated third-seeded Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France 7-6 (4), 6-2 in the final on Sunday.
In the women’s event, top-seeded Victoria Azarenka won her fifth title of the year by dominating second-seeded Maria Sharapova 6-3, 6-1. It was the third time this year that Azarenka has beaten Sharapova in the final after victories at the Australian Open and Indian Wells.
Djokovic has won the tournament on all three occasions he has entered, beating Marin Cilic in the 2009 final and David Ferrer in 2010. He has a 14-0 record at the tournament.
The Serb has won 65 matches this season, the most wins by any player on the ATP tour. Djokovic has also won four titles this year, including defending his Australian Open title.
During the award ceremony Djokovic celebrated with the ball boys and girls by dancing to "Gangnam Style," the popular single by Korean rapper Psy. "The song is quite catchy so I might do it again," Djokovic said.
It’s the fifth tournament of Djokovic’s career which he has won three times, along with the Australian Open, Dubai, Miami, and Canadian Open.
Tsonga went 3-2 ahead in the opening set but Djokovic immediately broke back.
Djokovic led the tiebreaker 5-4 when Tsonga lost his next two serves — double faulting and dropping a backhand volley into the net.
"The first set was really even and just a couple of points decided the winner," Djokovic said. "When you’re getting to the second set with a set advantage, mentally it is much more encouraging for you."
Tied at 1-1 in the second, Djokovic won the next four games before Tsonga held serve and Djokovic served out the match.
"It was really difficult to control him," Tsonga said. "Against a player like this, for the moment my level is not high enough."
Sharapova struggled with Azarenka’s power throughout the 1 hour, 28-minute match and also served six double faults in the opening set but cut back to only one double fault in the second.
Azarenka raced to a 4-0 lead in both sets with Sharapova only managing to hold her serve twice in the match — in the seventh game of the first set and the sixth game of the second.
"I was doing the right things to not let Maria play her game that she likes, you know to always be in control ," Azarenka said. "For the most part I was trying to keep up with her rhythm and, when I had a chance, to step it up."
Trailing 5-1 in the first set, Sharapova saved a set point with a winning forehand to hold serve for the first time in the match. Azarenka then dropped serve for the only time in the match for 5-3 before breaking the Russian to take the set.
Azaraneka raced to 5-0 in the second before Sharapova held serve, forcing Azarenka to serve out the match.
Overall, Azarenka now leads Sharapova 7-4 in their career meetings, and 4-1 this season with Sharapova winning their Stuttgart title match on clay.