Novak Djokovic battled into the semifinals of the China Open on Friday with a three-set win over Spain's Fernando Verdasco, putting himself one win away from regaining the world number three ranking. Djokovic, the second seed here, overpowered fifth seed Verdasco in the third and final set, 6-3, 1-6, 6-1. The Serb will replace injured Scot Andy Murray in the ATP third spot behind Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal if he wins his next match against Roland Garros finalist Robin Soderling of Sweden, a winner over Croatia's Ivan Ljubicic. Murray has withdrawn from next week's Shanghai Masters with a lingering wrist injury and will slide down the rankings by being inactive and losing the winner's points he gained the same week a year ago.