China Open, Beijing QF
National Tennis Stadium – 12:30pm start
Rafael Nadal’s (Player Info) quest for the top spot in the ATP rankings continues with a matchup against Fabio Fognini (Player Info). Regardless of what Novak Djokovic does, Nadal will reclaim No.1 if he makes the final. Nadal vs Fognini Head to Head stands at 2-0.
After dropping a set to Philipp Kohlschreiber in the US Open, Nadal was once more tested by the German in their second round match. Kohlschreiber twice pulled back a break deficit in the first set and had break point to serve for the set at 4-4 but would ultimately fail to do so and find himself broken for the set. The second set was more difficult as he was taken to a tiebreak but earned his 20th win in a row with the 6-4 7-6 victory.
Meanwhile, Fognini had it much easier with a highly convincing win over Lleyton Hewitt. Fognini took the first 7 games of the match before a minor blip saw him lose the next two. Astonishingly, he reeled off another five straight games for a 6-0 6-2 victory.
Fognini’s form on hard courts has been questionable so this victory, never mind the emphatic nature of it, was a major surprise. Losses to Rajeev Ram and Radek Stepanek have been major disappointments in the North American swing but he has bounced back in some fashion.
Unfortunately for the Italian, he runs into the most in-form player in the world and will likely get a sound beating from Nadal who will improve his hard court records on the year to 25-0 with a victory. Nadal leads the head to head 2-0 with two clay wins this year, winning both in straight sets.
Prediction: Rafael Nadal in straight sets