Novak Djokovic gained a measure of revenge by defeating Rafael Nadal, the world's newly minted No. 1 tennis player, in the China Open championship match Sunday in Beijing.
Djokovic almost made it look easy with a 6-3, 6-4 victory, although he admitted that Nadal, who won titles at the French Open and U.S. Open, was at least the No. 1 player in 2013.
“I needed this win today," said Djokovic, who had been ranked No. 1 for the last 101 weeks. "I really wanted to get my hands on the trophy and win against Nadal, who has been the best player so far in 2013.”
Djokovic, who won his only Grand Slam event this year with a third consecutive title at the Australian Open, took control early in each set Sunday by breaking Nadal's serve in the second game of the first set and opening game of the second. The Serbian finished with 19 winners and four aces compared with the Spaniard's nine winners and two aces.
Although Nadal is 65-3 this year with 10 tournament victories, Djokovic has proved nearly unbeatable in Beijing with four titles the last five years.
“Center Court is exceptional," Djokovic said of playing in the China Open. "I enjoy it, and I try to cherish every moment that I spend here. And the results are showing how much I really enjoy being here and enjoy playing in this tournament."