Djokovic wins, Murray beaten

Sports Network

, Last Updated: 12:00 PM ET

BEIJING -- Defending champion Novak Djokovic of Serbia cruised to a straight-set win over France's Gilles Simon in the quarterfinals of the China Open, but Scotland's Andy Murray was eliminated by Croatian veteran Ivan Ljubicic on Friday.

The top-seeded Djokovic needed just 84 minutes to dispose of Simon in a 6-3, 6-2 romp, while Ljubicic toppled the second-seeded Murray by the identical score.

Djokovic will next take on American wild card John Isner, who outlasted fourth-seeded Nikolay Davydenko of Russia, 7-6 (7-2), 6-4. Ranked second in the world, Djokovic has just one title in 2010 and it came back in February at Dubai. He reached the final at the U.S. Open last month and lost in four sets to Rafael Nadal.

Isner, of course, is most-known for his marathon match at Wimbledon this summer when he emerged with a 70-68 fifth-set triumph over Nicolas Mahut in the first round. However, the 25-year-old North Carolina native has reached four finals this year. He won at the Australian Open tuneup in Auckland, then lost title matches in Memphis, Belgrade and Atlanta.

"I'm just real excited to be in the semis, considering how strong this field is," said Isner. "It's a big accomplishment, but I also know I have two matches to go."

Djokovic and Isner have met just once previously, with the Serbian star taking a five-setter in the first round of the Davis Cup back in March.

Ljubicic will play in his second semifinal of 2010. The 31-year-old veteran captured the Indian Wells title back in March for his ninth career tournament victory, beating Djokovic in the fourth round, Nadal in the semifinals and Andy Roddick in the final.

David Ferrer will be Ljubicic's opponent on Saturday and will play in his 10th ATP semifinal of 2010. The eighth-seeded Spaniard advanced Friday with a 6-2, 6-4 victory over third-seeded Robin Soderling of Sweden.

Ferrer reached back-to-back finals in February, losing to countrymate Juan Carlos Ferrero in Argentina before avenging the loss the following week in Acapulco. He also lost to Nadal in the Rome Masters title match in May.

Friday's win over Soderling avenged a loss to the French Open runner-up in the semifinals of the Swedish Open in July. Ferrer also lost in five other semifinals this year, most recently against Andrey Golubev last week in Kuala Lumpur.

This week's champion will collect $500,000.


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