An hour into the match, Tomas Berdych tried giving his racket to Zoe Theodorakopoluos, the ball girl from Australia. He was done.
“I want to just release a little bit, you know, the tension or something,” Berdych said.
He asked her, “Do you want to play? You’ll probably do a better job than I am.”
But she didn’t want to. Nobody did.
“It's probably the best finals I played,” Novak Djokovic said. “With this kind of performance and with this domination result-wise, I mean, never happened.”
The top-seeded Djokovic put on an absolute clinic Sunday, defeating the third-seeded Berdych 6-0, 6-2 to win his fifth China Open championship, his third in a row.
“Obviously I felt it from the start,” Djokovic said. “As soon as I broke him first game, I felt the ball well.”
The seven-time Grand Slam champ is now a perfect 24-0 in Beijing, and he hasn’t lost a set here in more than a year.
But he doesn’t just own Beijing. This win marks his eighth career title in China. He’s won more matches here than in any other country.
“I don't experience this level of support and loyalty anywhere in the world for a tennis player,” Djokovic said of his fans in Beijing. “I'm feeding off their energy and trying to give them back on the tennis court as much as I can.”
In this year’s tournament, Djokovic broke his opponents’ serve more than half of the time, 24-43. He converted on 65 percent of his break point opportunities, 24-37. Both of those lead the tournament.
Before the final, his opponent, Berdych, won 97 percent of his service games in his four previous matches. His serve had only been broken once.
Djokovic broke the Czech’s serve six times Sunday.
“What changed? Whatever he touched, he put in,” Berdych said. “I haven't met anyone playing like that ever in 600 plus matches.”
The No. 1 player in the world won 16 points in a row at one point in the match, including three straight 40-0 games. The streak ended with Djokovic diving for a Berdych return, coming up just short.
Djokovic was nearly perfect in this match, up 5-0 on serve in the second set. The Serbian had a championship point, but Berdych finally broke through.
He came up with three straight points to take a break back from Djokovic. His only two break point opportunities came in that game. Berdych was determined to win at least one game.
“It's a final of the tournament. You just have to try,” he said. “I mean, you have to try for anything.”
Berdych took the momentum, and in the next game won his first and only service game of the match.
But it was too little too late for the Czech. Djokovic wasn’t joking around anymore.
The now five-time China Open champ won the next game and the championship.
The Serbian is now 16-2 all-time against the 2011 China Open champ and a perfect 14-0 against him on hard courts.