Beijing, China; Surface: hard
Men’s Seeds: Novak Djokovic, David Ferrer, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Marin Cilic, Richard Gasquet, Alexandr Dolgopolov, Tommy Haas, Fernando “Hot Sauce” Verdasco
Men’s Floaters: Jurgen “Tuna” Melzer, Guillermo “G-Lo” Garcia-Lopez, Mikhail Youzhny, Sam Querrey, Yen-Hsun Lu
Men’s Notes: Tough openers go to (6) Dolgopolov vs. G-Lo, (7) Haas vs. Youzhny, (8) Hot Sauce vs. Querrey, and a weary (2) Ferrer vs. the wily Lu…wildcards went to Romanian Marious Copil, and China’s Ze Zhang and Di Wu…Green Tennis Center was the site of the 2008 Olympic Games…Two-time winning Bryan brothers the top seeds in doubles…Djokovic is a perfect 9-0 career in Beijing…Haas makes his first career appearance in Beijing…Tomas Berdych won last year but is in Tokyo this week…Rafael Nadal and John Isner were notable players pulling from the draw…the lone returning champ in the field is Djokovic (2010-09).
Women’s Seeds: Victoria Azarenka, Maria Sharapova, Agnieszka Radwanska, Petra Kvitova, Angelique Kerber, Sara Errani, Li Na, Samantha Stosur, Marion Bartoli, Caroline Wozniacki, Ana Ivanovic, Dominika Cibulkova, Maria Kirilenko, Kaia Kanepi (withdrew), Roberta Vinci, Lucie Safarova
Women’s Floaters: Alize Cornet, Sabine Lisicki, Jelena Jankovic, Francesca Schiavone, Nadia Petrova, (Q) Laura Robson
Women’s Notes: Tough openers go to (1) Azarenka vs. Cornet then Lisicki, Azarenka having trouble with dizziness of late; and (7) Li vs. the former Slam champ Schiavone (winner to face Petrova)…Kanepi pulls from the draw late with injury…also pulling pre-event were Flavia Pennetta (right wrist), Sloane Stephens, (?), Serena Williams (illness), Venus Williams (back), and Vera Zvonareva (illness)…returning champs in the field are Radwanska (2011), Wozniacki (2010), Jankovic (2008), and Kirilenko (2005).
Rakuten Japan Open Tennis Championships
Tokyo, Japan; Surface: hard
Seeds: Andy Murray, Tomas Berdych, Janko Tipsarevic, Juan Monaco, Nicolas Almagro, Milos Raonic, Stan Wawrinka, Kei Nishikori
Floaters: Gael “Force” Monfils, Gilles Simon, Martin Klizan, Radek “The Worm” Stepanek, Go Soeda, Jarkko Nieminen
Notes: Tough starts for (1) Murray vs. Monfils, (7) Tipsarevic vs. Simon (winner to likely face hot-handed Klizan), (6) Raonic vs. The Worm, and (8) Nishikori (2-4 career in Tokyo) vs. Japanese countryman Soeda…Tipsarevic 0-3 career in Tokyo…Murray is making his first appearance since winning the US Open, and last year in Tokyo won the singles and doubles title with his brother…40th year of the event, the oldest ATP event in Asia…Mardy Fish withdrew, still dealing with mystery injury…no one has won back-to-back Tokyo titles since Pete Sampras in 1993-94…Stefan Edberg won the event from 1989-91, and Rod Laver won the first event in 1974…wildcards went to Tatsuma Ito, Hiroki Moriya and Yuichi Sugita of Japan…Murray (2011) and Berdych (2008) returning champs in the field.
Gasquet Wins All-French Final for Bangkok Title
Richard Gasquet beat French countryman Gilles Simon 6-2, 6-1 on Sunday for the title at the Thailand Open, his first title since May 2012 at Nice.
“I played against a French player who is also my friend so of course it a little bit strange but for me it’s a title and I’ve had some tough matches this week so I’m very happy to win,” Gasquet said.
Simon broke Gasquet in the opening game, but Gasquet broke back immediate then took change, winning 11 of the final 14 games and improving to 6-0 career against Simon. “I was playing some of the best tennis I ever played yesterday [against Janko Tipsarevic] and today I just couldn’t play at all,” said Simon, who fell to 10-3 in career fianls. “[Coach] Thierry [Tulasne] was here to watch, but it was our last week together so I really wanted to win.”
Monaco Takes 3-hour Marathon for Kuala Lumpur Crown
Argentinean No. 2 seed Juan Monaco defeated No. 7 seed Julien Benneteau of France 7-5, 4-6, 6-3 in just over three hours to capture the title at Kuala Lumpur, the Malaysian Open.
“I celebrated with my team in the locker room and tonight I’ll have Malaysian food with my team,” said Monaco after the final. “It has been nice to be in this city and win the trophy. It feels very good. When I win a title, I think of my family and my team, as they believe in me, they have supported me and we have worked hard to win tournaments.”
The 28-year-old Monaco won his fourth title this year after Vina del Mar, Houston and Hamburg. Benneteau fell to 0-7 in career finals.
Petrova Sets Career Mark with Tokyo Title
Thirty-year-old Nadia Petrova hit her stride this week in Tokyo, beating three Top 10 opponents in the same tournament for the fist time in her career to win the Toray Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo, defeating world No. 3 Aggie Radwanska in the final 6-0, 1-6, 6-3.
“I played great in the first set but may have used too much energy, and in the second set I felt flat,” said Petrova, who entered the event nursing a back injury. “It took me a while to recuperate and get back into the game. After the second set when I went to change my clothes, I had a few minutes to think about what to focus on in the third set. After running out of gas in the second set, I don’t know where I found the strength and willpower to fight in the third set, but I did and it feels amazing.”
Radwanska, the defending champion, said “I’m disappointed — I wanted to win this title so much, and when you’re so close and feel you can make it, it’s always emotional if you don’t. But she was playing really well. Her biggest weapon is her serve, for sure, but also her return was very good today, and I had to serve really well myself to hold my serve.”
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