Beijing Flashback: Novak Djokovic makes three-peat

Novak Djokovic took down Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the 2012 Beijing final

by Jovica Ilic
Beijing Flashback: Novak Djokovic makes three-peat
© Lintao Zhang / Staff - Getty Images Sport

Novak Djokovic debuted at the China Open in Beijing in 2009, winning the title and defending it a year later. Novak skipped Beijing in 2011 due to an injury and returned in 2012. The Serb reached his 51st ATP final at one of his favorite events, facing Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the title clash.

Novak ousted Jo-Wilfried 7-6, 6-2 in an hour and 42 minutes for the Beijing three-peat. Djokovic and Tsonga battled for the 13th time, and the Serb celebrated his eighth victory, the fourth in a row in 2012. Novak claimed 15 points more than Jo-Wilfried, securing the win after a reliable performance on the second serve.

Djokovic saved five out of six break chances. He turned 45% of the return points into three breaks from eight opportunities, enough to emerge at the top. Novak had the upper hand in the shortest rallies up to four strokes, while nothing separated them in the most advanced exchanges.

The Serb tamed his strokes nicely and welcomed over 30 unforced errors from the Frenchman, who lost the ground in set number two. Jo-Wilfried made a strong start and earned a break chance in the encounter's opening game with a forehand return winner.

Novak saved it with a service winner and faced another after spraying a backhand error. The Serb denied it with a lob winner and closed the game with a service winner, avoiding an early setback. Tsonga held at 30 in game two and created another break chance at 1-1.

Djokovic denied it with a service winner and hit another to bring the game home. Jo-Wilfried held at love in game four and painted a forehand crosscourt winner in the next one for three break chances, eager to move in front.

Tsonga opened the court with his forehand and forced Djokovic's mistake to seize the first and forge a 3-2 advantage. Novak responded well and created two break points in game six, and Jo-Wilfried denied them with winners to reach deuce.

Djokovic got the third break chance with a forehand winner and seized it after Tsonga's backhand error to level the score at 3-3.

Novak Djokovic celebrated his third Beijing title over Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in 2012.

A two-time champion held with an unreturned serve in game seven and created a break point in the next one.

The Frenchman saved it with an ace down the T line and held after the Serb's wild forehand at the net. Novak wrapped up the ninth game at love with a forehand drive-volley winner before Jo-Wilfried took the next one with a volley winner for 5-5.

Both players held at 30 in games 11 and 12 to introduce a tie break. Djokovic forged a 3-0 lead after Tsonga's loose forehand and opened a 4-1 gap with a powerful serve. Jo-Wilfried fired two winners to remain within one mini-break break deficit, reducing the gap to 4-5 after Novak's forehand error.

The Frenchman hit a double fault in the tenth point, offering the Serb two set points. Novak seized the first with a crafty return, wrapping up the set and gaining a boost. Djokovic created a break chance at the beginning of the second set after a forehand crosscourt winner.

Tsonga saved it and denied another to avoid an early setback. Jo-Wilfried sprayed a terrible volley error in the third game to fall behind and push the opponent closer to the finish line. The Serb cemented the advantage with a hold at love in game four thanks to a service winner and clinched another break a few minutes later.

Making one last push, Tsonga squandered a break chance in game six after a loose drop shot. Novak saved the second break point with a service winner and landed a volley winner at the net to bring the game home and move 5-1 ahead.

The Frenchman held with an ace in game seven to reduce the deficit and extend the encounter. Still, Djokovic moved over the top with three winners at 5-2, celebrating his third title from as many trips to Beijing.

Novak Djokovic Jo-Wilfried Tsonga