BEIJING (AP) -- Top-seeded Novak Djokovic beat Gilles Simon of France 6-3, 6-2 on Friday to advance to the semifinals at the China Open.
The Serbian, ranked No. 2 in the world, struggled to hold serve in the first game, but soon found his form against Simon and served out the match with an ace.
"I'm very happy that my serve is getting better and better and hopefully, I'm going to use it more and more,'' Djokovic said.
The US Open runner-up is enjoying a surge late in the season, and credits his semifinals appearance at Wimbledon with providing the necessary confidence boost.
Djokovic, the defending champion in Beijing, has lost just one match in his three appearances at the tournament.
Djokovic will next face the winner of the quarterfinal between Nikolay Davydenko of Russia and American John Isner.
On the women's side, second-seeded Russian Vera Zvonareva beat French Open champion Francesca Schiavone of Italy 6-0, 6-2 to reach the semifinals.
"Not the match you expect from a Grand Slam winner,'' Zvonareva said of Schiavone, who is the only Italian to ever win a major. "I was really happy with the way I played and didn't really give her a chance.''
Next up for Zvonareva will be the winner of the quarterfinal match between Denmark's Caroline Wozniacki, who will take over the top ranking next week, and former No. 1 Ana Ivanovic of Serbia.
Later Friday, China's Li Na goes up against Anastasija Sevastova of Latvia, and Israeli Shahar Peer plays Switzerland's Timea Bacsinszky.
In the other men's quarterfinals, second seed Andy Murray of Britain plays Ivan Ljubicic of Croatia, and Swede Robin Soderling of faces Spain's David Ferrer.