Beijing, China; Surface: hard
Men’s Seeds: Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, Tomas Berdych, Marin Cilic, Grigor Dimitrov, Andy Murray, Ernests Gulbis, John Isner
Men’s Floaters: Lukas Rosol, Vasek “Popsicle” Pospisil, Fernando “Hot Sauce” Verdasco, Jerzy Janowicz, Feliciano “F-Lo” Lopez, Fabio “The Fabulous One” Fognini, “Dr.” Ivo Karlovic, Richard Gasquet
Men’s Notes: A whole lot o’ shakin’ goin’ on in Beijing where the return of Rafael Nadal and no byes results in a slew of opening-round salivation-level matches…Openers of interest include (2) Nadal vs. Gasquet (winner to likely meet Dr. Ivo), (5) Dimitrov vs. Hot Sauce, (6) Murray vs. Janowicz, (3) Berdych vs. F-Lo, and (7) Gulbis vs. Fognini…(1) Djokovic to meet Rosol-Pospisil winner in second round…All main draw players at the time of entry were ranked in the Top 50 (excluding wildcards)…Wildcards were awarded to Murray, F-Lo, China’s Bai Yan and Serb Viktor “I didn’t do it” Troicki…Djokovic beat Nadal in last year’s final…Returning former champs in the field are Djokovic (2013-12,’10-09), Berdych (2011), and Nadal (2005).
Women’s Seeds: Serena Williams, Simona Halep, Petra Kvitova, Maria Sharapova, Agnieszka Radwanska, Caroline Wozniacki, Angelique Kerber, Eugenie Bouchard, Ana Ivanovic, Jelena Jankovic, Sara Errani, Ekaterina Makarova, Lucie Safarova, Flavia Pennetta, Andrea Petkovic, Venus Williams
Women’s Floaters: Alize Cornet, Sam Stosur, Francesca Schiavone, Caroline Garcia, Garbine Muguruza, Christine McHale, Kaia Kanepi
Women’s Notes: Plenty of opening-round testers for seeds including (10) Jankovic vs. Cornet, (6) Wozniacki after a bye vs. a Slam champ in either Stosur or Schiavone, (12) Makarova vs. Muguruza, (14) Pennetta vs. McHale, and (4) Sharapova vs. Kanepi…Wildcards went to Maria Kirilenko, Schiavone, and China’s Xu Shilin, Zhang Kailin, and Zhu Lin…Pulling from the event were Victoria Azarenka (foot), Dominika Cibulkova, Li Na (announced retirement), Sloane Stephens and Vera Zvonareva…Returning past champions in the field are Serena Williams (2013,’04), Radwanska (2011), Wozniacki (2010), Kuznetsova (2009,’06), Jankovic(2008), and Kirilenko (2005).
RAKUTEN JAPAN OPEN 2014
Tokyo, Japan; Surface: hard
Seeds: Stan Wawrinka, David Ferrer, Milos Raonic, Kei Nishikori, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Roberto Bautista Agut, Kevin Anderson, Alexandr Dolgopolov
Floaters: Jack Sock, Dominic Thiem, Gilles Simon, Marcel Granollers
Notes: Interesting openers include (8) Dolgopolov vs. Sock, (7) Anderson vs. the comer Thiem, (6) Bautista Agut a bad draw vs. the backboard Simon, and a possibly burnt-out (2) Ferrer vs. his backboard countryman Granollers….Wildcards went to Japanese players Taro Daniel, Tatsuma Ito and Go Soeda…The pulls from the event were almost equal to the seeds in Slam champ Juan Martin del Potro (wrist), former No. 1 Lleyton Hewitt, Gael “Force” Monfils, Benoit Paire, and Slam doubles champ Radek “The Worm” Stepanek…Del Potro beat the Canuck Raonic in last year’s final…Returning former champs in the field are Del Potro (2013), Nishikori (2010), Tsonga (2009), and Ferrer (2007).
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