Djokovic into Beijing final, claims number 3 rank

BEIJING: Serbia's Novak Djokovic powered into the final at the China Open on Saturday with a 6-3, 6-3 win over Sweden's Robin Soderling, ensuring that he will claim the number three ATP ranking next week.

Djokovic, the second seed here, improved his record over French Open finalist Soderling to 4-0 and maintained pace as the top winner on the men's circuit with 62 victories in 2009.

Rival Andy Murray, who will surrender his number three ranking to Djokovic, has not played on the ATP World Tour since the US Open, missing the Asian swing due to complications from a wrist injury.

Djokovic, who won bronze at last year's Beijing Olympics, awaits a potential showdown in the final with top seed and world number two Rafael Nadal, who was facing Croatia's Marin Cilic at the 6.6-million-dollar ATP-WTA event.

The 22-year-old Serb needed less than 90 minutes to see off sixth seeded Soderling, who beat Nadal in Paris and then lost the final at Roland Garros to Roger Federer.

Djokovic fired six aces and broke Soderling four times on his way to the comfortable victory at the Olympic venue in the Chinese capital.

The Serb, who won titles at Dubai and Belgrade this season, stands 62-17 on the season and was playing in his 12th semi-final in 18 events in 2009.

Nadal will be looking to maintain his perfect record in Beijing, standing 14-0 after winning the 2005 China Open and claiming the Olympic gold medal in 2008.

The Spaniard is playing here for the first time since the US Open after healing an abdominal muscle pull. He and Cilic have never met.