Djokovic overcomes Verdasco challenge

Sania-Black enter quarters with win over Chan-Zheng

 Top seed Novak Djokovic overcame a second set blip to beat Spaniard Fernando Verdasco 7-5, 2-6, 6-2 to reach the quarterfinals of the China Open on Thursday, keeping alive his hopes of clinging on to his number one ranking.

The defending champion, aiming for his fourth China Open title in five years after missing the 2011 tournament through injury, will lose the top spot next week if Spaniard Rafael Nadal reaches the final in Beijing.

In the quarterfinals, the Serb will face American Sam Querrey, who caused an upset by defeating sixth-seed Swiss Stanislas Wawrinka 6-3, 7-6 (7-2) in 76 minutes.

While much is being made of the No 1 battle, the 26-year-old six-times Grand Slam champion insists winning, rather than ranking points, is his sole focus when he takes to the court.

Williams through

In the women’s section, World number one Serena Williams saved three set points on her way to edging Russian Maria Kirilenko 7-5, 7-5 to advance to the quarterfinals with her 70th win of the season. The top-seeded American had won all seven of her previous encounters against the 18th-ranked Kirilenko but was forced to dig deep on many occasions to ensure her eighth victory over the Russian would be completed in straight sets.

Kirilenko secured the first break of the match in the ninth game and had three set points on her serve in the next but Williams rallied to break back before sealing the set after her opponent double faulted.

Williams fell behind again in the second set after being broken in the fifth game but the 17-time grand slam singles winner, who has won more than $9 million in prize money in 2013, rallied again to close out the set and the match. Earlier, eighth seeded Serb Jelena Jankovic dished up a 6-0, 6-0 beating of Spaniard Carla Suarez Navarro to also advance to the last eight.

Easy win for Sania

India’s Sania Mirza and her Zimbabwean partner Cara Black notched up a straight sets win over Chinese Taipei’s Yung-Jan Chan and Jie Zheng in the quarterfinals of the China Open tennis tournament on Thursday, adds PTI.

The eight seeded Indo-Zimbabwe pair prevailed over the Taiwanese combo 6-4, 6-1 in a women’s doubles competition at the China National Tennis Center.

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