A day after Nadal made sure of wresting the No. 1 ranking away from Djokovic, the Serb gained some consolation by dominating his Spanish old foe in a 6-3, 6-4 victory to claim his fourth China Open title here on Sunday.
The defeat was Nadal's first hardcourt loss of the season, but he will nevertheless unseat Djokovic as the world No. 1 when the new rankings are published on Monday.
The four-time China Open titlist was in control from the start, racing into a 3-0 lead against the 13-time Grand Slam champion.
The first set was duly wrapped up and Djokovic broke Nadal in the opening game of set two to confirm his dominance, holding firm on serve to put the match to bed in an hour and 27 minutes.
The Serb racked up four aces to the Spaniard's two and claiming 19 winners to Nadal's nine.
Nadal has had the beating of Djokovic this season, coming out on top in the semi-finals at Roland Garros and last month's final at the US Open, as well as the Canada Masters.
The victory at Beijing's National Tennis Centre halted Djokovic's run of three defeats to Nadal and made the 26-year-old Serb the first four-time winner of the China Open following his successes in 2009, 2010 and 2012. He did not participate in 2011.