Djokovic survives Verdasco scare
Novak Djokovic survived a scare before clinging onto his world number one ranking with a three-set victory over Fernando Verdasco in the second round of the China Open in Beijing.
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Djokovic would have ceded top position to Rafael Nadal in the event of a defeat - and will still drop to second if the Spaniard goes on to reach the Beijing final, irrespective of his own performance.
Djokovic edged the first set 7-5 against the experienced Verdasco but was distinctly out of sorts in the second as he was broken twice, enabling his opponent to level the scores.
The Serbian raised his game in the decider, breaking Spain's Verdasco twice and saving a solitary break point on his own serve to run out a 7-5 2-6 6-2 winner in one hour and 54 minutes.
Djokovic will play Sam Querrey in the quarter-finals after the American upset Switzerland's sixth seed Stanislas Wawrinka 6-3 7-6 (7/2) in 76 minutes.