BEIJING — Top-seeded Novak Djokovic will face Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the final of the China Open.
Djokovic beat unseeded Florian Mayer of Germany 6-1, 6-4 Saturday, while Tsonga led 6-1, 4-1 when Feliciano Lopez retired with a left wrist injury.
In the women’s event, top-ranked Victoria Azarenka beat ninth-seeded Marion Bartoli 6-4, 6-2 to set up a final against Maria Sharapova. She cruised to a 6-4, 6-0 victory over seventh-seeded Li Na of China in the other semifinal.
Djokovic steamrolled past the 29th-ranked Mayer in the first set before securing the necessary break in the seventh game of a much closer second set. He double-faulted on his first match point but won when Mayer hit a forehand wide two points later.
Djokovic has so far played eight finals this season, winning three of them, including a successful defense of his Australian Open title. He leads Tsonga 7-5 in head-to-heads.
“He’s a very powerful player, big serve, big forehand, and if that works he can win against anybody on any surface,” Djokovic said of Tsonga.
Lopez had the trainer on court after the 30th-ranked Spaniard lost the first set.
“Even if today Feliciano was not in good shape, and even if he has a problem, I played well,” said Tsonga, who is 2-0 in finals this year, winning at Doha and Metz.
Azarenka, who won her first Grand Slam title at the Australian Open in January, was tested in the first set by Bartoli, but ran ahead to a 5-1 lead in the second set.
Bartoli refused to allow Azarenka to serve out the match in the seventh game even though the Belarussian held a match point. Bartoli broke serve on a second opportunity when Azarenka hit a forehand long.
Azarenka took advantage of her next match point on Bartoli’s serve in the eighth game.
Sharapova, who will be playing for her fourth title of the year, took 68 minutes to secure the first set. The Russian finally went ahead when Li, serving at 4-5, sailed a forehand long on a second set point in the 10th game.
Li saved the first set point in the opening set with a winning volley smash at 30-40, but made the forehand error two points later to lose her serve and the set.
Sharapova needed only 33 minutes to take the second set, winning 25 of the 34 points played.
Raonic ousts Murray in semifinal: In Tokyo, Milos Raonic ousted top-seeded Andy Murray 6-3, 6-7 (5), 7-6 (4) Saturday to move into the final of the Japan Open.
Raonic will meet Kei Nishikori on Sunday after he routed unseeded Marcos Baghdatis 6-2, 6-2 in just over an hour.
The 17th-ranked Nishikori defeated Baghdatis for the first time after losing three previous matches.
Nishikori and Raonic will play for the first time in the final, with the Japanese player seeking his first title of the season.
Playing under a blazing sun at Ariake Colosseum, the big-hitting Raonic broke Murray in the opening game of the match and used his strong serve and powerful forehand to go up 5-3. He broke again to claim the set 6-3.
The Olympic champion looked sluggish from the outset and had to save two break points to hold serve for 1-1 in the second set.
After Raonic held to go up 3-2, a frustrated Murray broke his racket by smashing it on the court.
There were no breaks of serve in the second set and went to a tiebreak, where Raonic misplayed a volley to give Murray a 6-5 lead and then couldn’t handle a Murray forehand that gave him the tiebreak 7-5.
Murray held to go up 5-4 and then had two match points on Raonic’s served in the 10th game of the third set, but could not capitalize as the Canadian held to send it to another tiebreak.
Raonic took control in the tiebreak.
“Live and die by the serve. I’m not afraid to go for it on my second serve. I know what I am capable of,” Raonic said.
Murray and Raonic had split their two previous career meetings, both this year. Raonic beat Murray on clay at the Barcelona Open, while Murray knocked Raonic out of the U.S. Open in the fourth round.
“The first set was poor from my side,” Murray said. “I played better in the second and third sets, but it was a disappointment to not close out the match. It came down to one or two points in the end.”
Raonic has won titles twice this year, in Chennai, India, and San Jose, Calif.
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