Novak Djokovic played arguably the greatest final of his phenomenal career at the China Open on Sunday, beating Tomas Berdych 6-0, 6-2, and his excellent late-season form will lead him to a third consecutive and fourth overall ATP World Tour Finals win in London.
The Joker's domination on Sunday was absolute. In just over an hour, the Serb sprinted to a 6-0, 5-0 lead against a bewildered opponent. Everything was working. He was exceptional in the return game, almost perfect from the baseline and played with just enough aggression without pushing things over the top.
Berdych was lost for words after the match, via the ATP World Tour's official website:
I met somebody in the final who I've never seen before. I was just swept off the court. I just said to my coach now that I probably played over 700 matches in my career…But I have never, ever experienced anything like that.
Live Tennis stated the obvious:
We've seen this scenario before. In the past two years, Djokovic took the China Open title with convincing performances in the final, not dropping a single set, and each time he went on to win the Finals in London.
This year's competition? Rafael Nadal is just returning from an injury, and as good as he looked physically, his lack of match rhythm was evident in China. Andy Murray? The Scot needs to qualify first, and his late-season form appears to be failing him.
Roger Federer is a living legend, but whether there's enough magic left in his 33-year-old body is doubtful.
Not that any of that matters—not when Djokovic is playing as well as he is right now. The leader in the Race To London rankings is carrying a 25-match unbeaten streak on Chinese soil into the Shanghai Open, and he has never looked as dominant as he did on Sunday.
The man himself conceded the final against Berdych was his greatest ever, via the ATP:
It was incredible. I have played some great finals, had some convincing wins, some straight-set wins against top rivals. But with this kind of performance and with this domination result-wise, I mean it's never happened.
After Shanghai, Djokovic will supposedly play the BNP Paribas Masters in Paris before travelling to London for the Finals. Supposedly, because his wife Jelena Ristic is expecting their first born, and as reported by International Business Times' Dana Alyssa Ramos, the baby boy should enter this world in the middle of the indoor season.
Djokovic has already stepped forward to let his fans know it won't affect his schedule, and if his form is any indication, the baby stress isn't bothering him one bit.
History has a tendency to repeat itself, and just like in 2012 and 2013, the 27-year-old is red-hot coming into the Finals. But his form has never been greater than it is now, and fans in London better get ready for one hell of a show.