Djokovic surges to 6th Beijing title

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Djokovic kisses the trophy.

Novak Djokovic disposed of Rafael Nadal in straight sets and won his sixth China Open title on Sunday, closing in on the Spaniard's all-time record for unbeaten starts to a tournament.

The masterful Serbian handed a 6-2, 6-2 defeat to the winner of 14 Grand Slam events, who was trying very hard to recover his form after a tough year that saw him empty-handed in the majors.

In the lopsided final, Djokovic kept all his service games and broke the rival twice in each set, wrapping up the victory with an emphatic ace.

Nadal recognized Djokovic as "the best today", but said the game was tighter than what the scoreline showed.

"Yeah, I think so, especially the first set," agreed Djokovic.

"(Nadal) had a couple of opportunities, especially on the 3-2 game, love-30, 15-40. (He) missed the volley. It was a bit unfortunate with some shots at that stage of the match."

Djokovic said he managed to stay calm and still stick with the game plan to be aggressive and to make Nadal move and "it worked very well."

Djokovic now owns eight trophies this season, including three of the four Grand Slams.

The world top-ranked Serbian has just one win to go before he will even Nadal in the most prolific rivalry of the Open Era in terms of matches played (45), with Nadal leading 23 to 22.

Last time Nadal won over his nemesis was in the 2014 French Open final where the Spanish superstar rallied to a 3-1 victory. Djokovic responded by beating Nadal twice in 2015, in Monte Carlo and Roland Garros.

At his 12th straight final this year, Serbia's 10-time Grand-Slam winner extended his China Open winning record to 29, having beaten Jimmy Connors for the second-longest unbeaten record at an ATP Tour event after crushing top Chinese Zhang Ze in the second round and now threatening Nadal's mark of 31 at the French Open.

With Djokovic untouchable in his run to the final, Nadal had been through a few tough games, including a come-from-behind quarter-final win over American Jack Sock and a revenge match against Italian Fabio Fognini, who has beaten the Spaniard three times this season.

Nadal remains highly motivated to improve his play.

"I (am) going to fight. I (am) going to do my way," said the Spaniard. "When I was No. 2 and Roger (Federer) was No. 1, (it) was not my obsession to catch Roger. My obsession was to improve my game and do my way. For me (it) is the same thing today."

Nadal's compatriot Garbine Muguruza beat Timea Bacsinszky to win the women's title and keep a perfect 3-0 record against the Swiss rival.

Muguruza, who will move from No. 5 to a new career-high No. 4 in the world rankings on Monday, overcame the early jitters to give a 7-5, 6-4 beating to Bacsinszky, who is now assured of making the top 10 for the first time in her career.

The first set started with Bascinszky breaking the rival's serve and Muguruza breaking back. The Swiss jumped to 3-1 by breaking the fourth game and then 5-2 with one more break and a save.

Forced to the corner, Muguruza fought back strongly and won five straight games.

Tied 4-4 at the second set, Muguruza broke the ninth game and kept serve in the 10th to claim her second career title.

This year's China Open missed the biggest names in the game after Maria Sharapova withdrew with a left forearm injury and top-ranked Serena Williams pulled out to heal from a series of injuries and the heartbreak of losing in her U.S. Open bid.

Top-seeded Simona Halep retired from her first round game with a recurring Achilles injury and Eugenie Bouchard exited the opener with dizziness.

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