The Asian swing really begins to get going this week with two ATP 500 events on offer on the continent this week. The 15th edition of the China Open in Beijing kicks off with a whole host of stars taking part. Rafael Nadal (Bio) and Novak Djokovic (Bio) head a field that sees six top 10 players take part. Djokovic looks to establish himself as the sole titles leader at the event as he goes for number four in an attempt to surpass Michael Chang.
Full Draw HERE: ATP Beijing 2013 Draw
While it’s difficult to see anything other than a showdown between the top two players in the world and a rematch of the US Open Final, it definitely has to be said that Djokovic has the tougher half of the draw in terms of seeds. The out of form Lukas Rosol shouldn’t pose too much trouble despite the Czech finally ending his losing streak. The last meeting between the pair ended with Rosol taking just one game. It shouldn’t also be much of a stretch against Somdev Devvarman or more likely Fernando Verdasco. Devvarman qualified but made extremely hard work of it, needing three sets to defeat the clay specialist Paolo Lorenzi.
Stanislas Wawrinka (Bio) pushed Novak Djokovic to five sets in each of their grand slam hard court meetings this year, putting on an almighty show in the process and they can meet in the quarter final here. Andreas Seppi has struggled against Wawrinka in recent years losing six of their last seven meetings and all three on hard courts. Mikhail Youzhny lost in his only meeting with Sam Querrey six years ago but should equal up the head to head in round one to book an expected round two place with Stan.
David Ferrer (Bio) was shocked last time out in Kuala Lumpur by eventual champion Joao Sousa but needs to bounce back in what has been a disappointing year for him so far in terms of titles. Vasek Pospisil looked like he was set to continue his surge up the rankings but a disappointing indoors loss against Federico Delbonis has slowed things down a bit for the Canadian. Ferrer currently leads 2-0 against Pospisil winning in straights on both occasions. Also in Kuala Lumpur was Julien Benneteau, who extended his dreadful record in finals to 0-9 after losing to Sousa. He looks to bounce back against Marinko Matosevic who pushed Bangkok winner Milos Raonic to three early in the tournament.
Also in the top half of the draw is Richard Gasquet (Bio) who made the semis in Bangkok last time out. Gasquet has a 4-2 record against round one opponent Florian Mayer but the German has come out on top on the big occasions with both wins coming at slams. Bernard Tomic has a kind draw to round off the top half as he plays Chinese wildcard Ze Zhang. Zhang is decent at Challenger level but has yet to push on from his victory last year where he defeated Gasquet in round two.
Nadal’s half includes three qualifiers and he will begin against one of them in Santiago Giraldo. The Colombian won both his matches in straights to make the main draw but his run will most likely end at this stage. Nadal has won all five of their meetings without dropping a set. He goes for his second title after winning in 2005 and has either Philip Kohlschreiber or Albert Montanes in the second round waiting. Kohlschreiber retired in Metz hurt 2 weeks ago but has shown he can trouble Nadal for at least a set after their match at the US Open. He took the first in New York but couldn’t keep it up as Nadal went on to win in four
The other seed in Nadal’s quarter is 7th seed Tommy Haas (Bio), another who Nadal has dominated throughout his career with a 5-0 record and 12-0 in sets. Haas takes on Lleyton Hewitt in a battle of veterans in round one. Hewitt leads the head to head 5-2 but this will be the first match between the two since 2004. With two players who prefer the clay in the second round in Fabio Fognini and Tommy Robredo, the winner will fancy their chances of advancing to a meeting with Nadal. Robredo is 4-1 against Fognini but all four of the Spaniards wins are on clay and Fognini’s victory was by retirement.
Tomas Berdych (Bio) is favourite to make the semi final from his quarter although the Czech shows no signs of improving his desperate record against Nadal. Should they meet, it seems highly likely that Nadal will make it fifteen wins in a row against Berdych. He will face another Spaniard in round one but should make light work of Pablo Andujar whose struggles on the surface are nothing new. Yen Hsun-Lu qualified after wins against Mao Xin Gong and Marsel Ilhan and is rewarded with a opener against Davydenko who is low on confidence after a shocking defeat to Pablo Cuevas in Kuala Lumpur last week.
John Isner (Bio) takes the final seeding spot and is rewarded with a draw against the other Chinese wildcard Di Wu. Wu has many a Challenger semi final in the past 18 months but has done little on the main tour – he was dumped out emphatically by Kei Nishikori and Ze Zhang in Shanghai and Beijing last year. If as expected Isner progresses, Grigor Dimitrov or Roberto Bautista-Agut are up next for the American. It will be Dimitrov’s first match since the US Open where he lost to Joao Sousa. Although recent events suggest that the result isn’t as bad as it first looked, these are the type of matches Dimitrov should be winning easily if he is ever to be a contender at the highest level. Bautista-Agut qualified after defeating Jack Sock in the final round and will be full of confidence against an opponent low on recent match practice.
SF: Novak Djokovic defeats Stanislas Wawrinka
SF: Rafael Nadal defeats Tomas Berdych
F: Rafael Nadal defeats Novak Djokovic