Novak Djokovic has hailed his performance in the China Open final on Sunday as his best ever in a final, after he beat Tomas Berdych 6-0, 6-2 in Beijing.
The Serbian won his fifth title at the hard court event by flattening his Czech opponent in 67 minutes, and he even had the opportunity to claim a double bagel against the third seed, as he failed to serve out the match from 5-0 up in the second set.
A 100% record in Beijing
The world number one has never been beaten at the tournament, and he stretched his winning streak in Beijing to 24 consecutive matches.
Not only did the victory all but seal his position as the year ending world number one, but it stands out above many other important victories in a career that has seen him win seven Grand Slam titles.
The 27-year-old said after the match: “This was probably the best performance in a final I ever had. Everything I tried worked, it was incredible.
“Beijing is definitely my lucky place, I enjoy being here. Since my first China win in 2009 I have not lost a match on this court. It keeps on going.”
Given that Djokovic has now won 46 ATP singles titles, and played in 68 finals, it is an emphatic statement from the top seed, who did not drop a set in the whole tournament, and was not even taken to a tie-break.
Berdych, who has only beaten Djokovic twice in 18 attempts, was completely blown away by what he had witnessed on the Centre Court.
“I met somebody in the final who I’ve never seen before,” said the world number six.
“The way that he performed today was really outstanding. There is really not much I can add to that because, really, I was just swept off the court.
“I just said to my coach now that I probably played over 700 matches in my career, and I met guys like Andre (Agassi), Roger (Federer), all those probably in their best times. But I have never, ever experienced anything like that.”
It was vital for Djokovic that he played himself back into form in his first tournament since the US Open, as he had endured a difficult hard court season until last week.
After being knocked out in the third round of ATP Masters 1000 Series events in Toronto and Cincinnati in August, he was then knocked out by underdog Kei Nishikori in the semi-finals of the US Open in September.
Djokovic has now won five singles titles this year, and his title triumph in Beijing was his first since beating Swiss Roger Federer in the Wimbledon final in July, which saw him secure his first Grand Slam with German coach Boris Becker.
There will be little respite for either player, as they will both remain in China for this week’s Shanghai Masters, where Berdych will be aiming to cement his place at the ATP World Tour Finals in London in November.
Djokovic goes into the tournament as the reigning champion, as he won his second consecutive title last year by beating Argentina’s Juan Martin del Potro in the final, and he will be aiming to take as much form as he can into the Tour Finals, another tournament that he has won on his last two attempts.