|Novak Djokovic waves to the crowd after winning his semi-final men's singles match against Germany's Florian Mayer at the China Open tennis tournament in Beijing October 6, 2012.(REUTERS/David Gray)
BEIJING - Novak Djokovic and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga were semifinal winners Saturday and will meet for the title at the China Open.
The third-seeded Tsonga advanced first when Spain's Feliciano Lopez retired in the second set with a left wrist injury. The Frenchman was ahead, 6-1, 4-1, when Lopez called it quits.
Djokovic followed with a 6-1, 6-4 triumph over Germany's Florian Mayer to reach his third final in Beijing. The top-seeded Serb previously won the title in 2009 and 2010.
"I got off to a good start," said Djokovic, who improved to 3-0 lifetime against Mayer, "then used that rhythm in the second set, which was close, obviously, but I managed to make that key crucial break at 3-3, and then I felt more comfortable."
Djokovic is 3-5 in finals this year, winning the Australian Open to start the season before following with titles in Miami and Toronto. He also lost in finals at Monte Carlo, Rome, the French Open, Cincinnati and the U.S. Open.
Tsonga has won twice this year, capturing titles in Doha to start the year and Metz just two weeks ago. He is 9-5 lifetime in finals.
"I felt really good on the court," said Tsonga about Saturday's match. "I'm just happy today with my game. I'm sure I will play good tennis in the final."
Tsonga has played Djokovic somewhat tough, winning five of the 12 all-time meetings, but his last victory in the series came in the 2010 Australian Open quarterfinals. Djokovic has won each of the three matchups this year, all coming in quarterfinals (Rome, French Open and Olympics).
They've previously met twice in finals. Djokovic won the first, capturing the first of his five Grand Slam titles by beating Tsonga in the 2008 Australian Open final. Tsonga prevailed later that year in the Bangkok final.
Sunday's champ will earn $530,570.