Djokovic, Kuznetsova triumph in Beijing

BEIJING: Novak Djokovic captured his third ATP title of the year at the China Open, outlasting giant killer Marin Cilic of Croatia, while Russia’s Svetlana Kuznetsova breezed to the women’s title.

The Serbian second seed capitalised on a 90-minute rain delay at 2-2 in the first set, returning to centre court at the Beijing Olympic tennis venue with renewed focus to win the blistering baseline battle with Cilic, 6-2, 7-6 (7/4). The big-hitting Cilic — who beat fourth seed Nikolay Davydenko and top seed Rafael Nadal en route to the final — pummeled Djokovic with a barrage of huge backcourt shots but the Serb successfully mixed up the pace to throw him off.

After holding serve to go up 3-2 in the first, Djokovic broke Cilic straight away and then a second time to take the set, with the 21-year-old Croatian the victim of two unlucky net cords in the final game. In the second, Cilic — a wild card entry here — and the 22-year-old Serb traded breaks three times to force a tiebreak, with the Croatian failing to serve out the set twice.

Djokovic took control mid-tiebreak, winning a rally after Cilic slipped and fell to go up 4-2. The Serb closed it out on his second match point when the Croat sent an forehand sailing wide.

In the women’s final, Kuznetsova, the reigning French Open champion and sixth seed here, used her powerful ground strokes and extra experience to run Poland’s Agnieszka Radwanska around the court, winning 6-2, 6-4. Kuznetsova, who defeated Radwanska earlier this year en route to the title at Roland Garros, dominated the first set, breaking the Pole three times and running her around the court with her penetrating ground strokes.

In the second, the Russian — who won here in 2006 — also went up an early break and never looked back, keeping the 12th seed Radwanska on the run by hitting difficult angles from the baseline. She easily served out the match, ending with a wide serve Radwanska could not handle.

Also on Sunday, American twins Bob and Mike Bryan won the men’s doubles final, beating Andy Roddick and Mark Knowles 6-4, 6-2. China’s Peng Shuai and Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei won the women’s doubles title beating Russia’s Alla Kudryavtseva and Ekaterina Makarova, 6-3, 6-1.