In one of the more surprising results this week, Martin Klizan ended Rafael Nadal’s comeback to the ATP World Tour in stunning fashion with a 6-7(7), 6-4, 6-3 win during their quarter-final match in Beijing.
Sitting at No. 56 in the world rankings, Klizan gave Nadal a tough match from the start, yet many assumed that one he dropped the opening set in a tiebreak that the wheels had come off and that he would lose the second set decisively.
That was far from the actual case.
Instead, Klizan mounted an enthralling comeback to snatch the second set from the brink of defeat to force a deciding set. Once again, it appeared as though the Slovak’s night was over when he dropped a break of serve to the Spaniard, yet he simply stormed back to win the next two consecutive games before closing out the match on serve.
“I think my tennis is now great,” said Klizan. “I think I can beat anyone on tour. For me this victory, that was the best night in my life. I’m just very happy that I beat Rafa. He’s a legend. I’m just very happy that I beat a legend.
“Rafa is a big star, he’s a big player. He was still up (in the third set). He was a set up and break. I had nothing to do, but I was just fighting. I’m just so proud of myself that I could win today. I’m looking forward to tomorrow to play the semi-finals. It’s my first semi-final in an ATP [World Tour] 500 tournament.”
In other news, Tomas Berdych kept his hopes alive in the Emirates Race to London with a dominant 6-1, 6-4 victory over John Isner on Friday. Berdych, who leads Isner 6-2 in the head-to-head series, was never troubled by the American’s serve during the encounter. He won 73% of his first service points and focused his efforts on Isner’s weak second serve to finish out the match in 74 minutes.
The 2011 China Open champion is looking to further his run in the tournament to cement his bid for the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals for the fifth straight year. He currently sits in the seventh slot in the standings.
Berdych and Klizan will meet on Saturday afternoon for a spot in the China Open final.