Nadal Returns Tonight In Beijing, Djokovic Begins Final No. 1 Push; Serena Survives Scare
by Staff | September 29th, 2014, 1:37 pm
  • 54 Comments

After a lengthy recovery from a right wrist injury, Rafael Nadal makes his long-awaited return to tennis Tuesday in Beijing where the 2013 finalist will face former Top 10 Richard Gasquet.

“The injury I my wrist, as I said before, I cannot say 100% because I still feel something when I start for the first five minutes of the practice,” Nadal said over the weekend. “But in general the injury is not limiting me to compete. The injury is past, I think.”

Nadal hasn’t played a match since Wimbledon almost three months ago. He has never lost to Gasquet winning all 12 meetings against the flashy Frenchmen.

Nadal was in action today losing in doubles with Pablo Andujar to Tomas Berdych and John Isner.

Also at stake these final few months is the No. 1 ranking. Nadal can put pressure on current No. 1 Novak Djokovic. The Serb though has won Beijing all four times he’s played. He’ll open tonight against Guillermo Garcia-Lopez seeking a 20th straight win at the event.

“The court itself and the balls and the conditions are pretty suitable to my style of the game,” Djokovic said. “So for the last four, five years I’ve been playing some of my best tennis on the center court.”

On Monday, in his first tournament match as a Grand Slam champion Marin Cilic beat Chinese wildcard Bai 6-3, 6-4.

“It’s important for me to keep focusing on the improvement of my game and try to recreate the game I was playing at the US Open,” said Cilic after his 9th straight win (he’s won 15 of his last 16 sets). “It’s going to be a process for me at all the tournaments to keep my level at the high point where I want it to be.”

Grigor Dimitrov, Vasek Pospisil and Victor Troicki were also winners. The 152nd-ranked Troicki is coming off a doping suspension and after beating David Ferrer last week looks to already be back in form.

The women’s event is also underway. Top seed and World No. 1 Serena Williams overcame an 0-5 first set deficit to deny Silvia Soler-Espinosa of her first career Top 10 win, beating the Spaniard 7-5, 6-2.

“It was really exciting to come away with the win today. I got off to a slow start, but I just really, really wanted to win and get some matches under my belt, so it was good,” Serena said.

Serena also shrugged off any concern about the illness she had last week. “I’m really good now. I mean, every day I’ve been getting better, so I feel so much better now.” The 33-year-old now faces former Wimbledon semifinalist Pironkova on Tuesday.

Also, Ana Ivanovic (d Bencic) and Alize Cornet (d Jankovic) were among the other winners.

In Tokyo, Stan Wawrinka, Milos Raonic and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga are in action Tuesday. No. 2 seed David Ferrer was upset earlier today falling to countryman Marcel Granollers 4-6, 6-4, 6-4.

“I lost my focus in the second set,” said Ferrer who also lost in his first match last week. “I have not been playing well recently and have got on a bad run of results.”

TUESDAY BEIJING SCHEDULE
NATIONAL TENNIS STADIUM start 12:30
WTA – E Svitolina (UKR) vs [4] M Sharapova (RUS)

Not Before 2:30 pm
ATP – [1] N Djokovic (SRB) vs G Garcia-Lopez (ESP)
ATP – R Gasquet (FRA) vs [2] R Nadal (ESP)

Not Before 7:45 pm
WTA – [1] S Williams (USA) vs [Q] T Pironkova (BUL)

Not Before 9:00 pm
ATP – [7] E Gulbis (LAT) vs F Fognini (ITA)

LOTUS COURT start 12:30
ATP – [WC] F Lopez (ESP) vs [3] T Berdych (CZE)

Not Before 2:30 pm
WTA – [WC] L Zhu (CHN) vs [2] S Halep (ROU)
WTA – C Garcia (FRA) vs [16] V Williams (USA)

Not Before 6:30 pm
ATP – J Janowicz (POL) vs [6] [WC] A Murray (GBR)

TOKYO TUESDAY SCHEDULE
CENTER COURT start 11:00 am
M Fyrstenberg (POL) / T Huey (PHI) vs [WC] K Nishikori (JPN) / Y Uchiyama (JPN)
[6] R Bautista Agut (ESP) vs G Simon (FRA)
[1] S Wawrinka (SUI) vs [WC] T Ito (JPN)
[5] J Tsonga (FRA) vs [Q] M Przysiezny (POL)
B Tomic (AUS) vs [3] M Raonic (CAN)


You Might Like:
Serena Williams Pulls Out Of Tokyo, Beijing Remains On Her Schedule
Djokovic Needs Three In Beijing; Murray Survives 18 Aces From Karlovic In Tokyo
Venus Survives 3-set Scare in Opener at WTA Rome
Nadal v. Roanic Tonight In Tokyo; Murray Keeps Playing, Keeps Winning
WTA Champs Preview: Serena Seeks A Fourth Year-End Title

Don't miss any tennis action, stay connected with Tennis-X

Get the FREE TX daily newsletter

54 Comments for Nadal Returns Tonight In Beijing, Djokovic Begins Final No. 1 Push; Serena Survives Scare

Hippy Chick Says:

Fabio v Ernie could be a cracker of a match,two of the most volotile players on tour,i hope Fabio wins this one,but i would give Ernie the edge….


Hippy Chick Says:

And it goes without saying best of luck Rafa….


Okiegal Says:

I better get a nap……I will be pulling an all nighter…….Rafa will be playing in the neighborhood of 4:00 AM in the states……yawn….but I will manage to stay awake….after all, it’s my main man!! So happy to know espn3.com is streaming it…..yesssss!!
Rafa has been out for too long. Good luck and hope the wrist holds up!!


Daniel Says:

Ferrer alrady lost in Tokyo and looks like he is entering the final stages of jis career. Probably he won’t qualify for London. Let’s see if Dimitrov gets some momentum and also Murray Raonic and Berdych. Wawa can secure his spot if he reaches semis I think.


Margot Says:

Have no idea how Andy’s gonna play. He’ll either be emotionally washed up and go out first round, or be all relaxed and loosened up and will play like a daemon.
Expecting the former, hoping for the latter ;)
@RZ
Take it u were under canvus at the weekend. Any more camping trips planned….;)


jane Says:

i never know what to think of berdych. sometimes i think “washed up” and then other times he just demolished guys. i guess it’s mainly against the topmost players that he stumbles.


Okiegal Says:

Ito serving for the match against Wa Wa, Stan rather sketchy today……we will see!


Giles Says:

Welcome back Rafa! 6-4 6-0 over Gasquet.


roy Says:

this is what makes nadal so amusing.
out for months, comes back bagels gasquet.


shamboozie Says:

The thing is that he was never injured Roy. Why oh why always after a loss does he have an injury. Fake @ss just like his supporters.


Brando Says:

Yeah Ferrer is heading towards his finish. Doubt he’ll make the WTF.


Hippy Chick Says:

I doubt he was wearing the splint for the sheer hell of it,why would he miss the USO if as many people are saying hes so hell bent on surpassing Rogers legacy,and why does that make his fans fake??


Polo Says:

Berdych is often a good bet to win, unless it’s in the finals in which case betting against him is where the money is. Ferrer needs to take the rest of the year. He looks tired physically and even more so mentally. That’s what happens when the top guys make a punching bag out of you. Happy for Nadal’s come back and a resounding win…but that almost seems predestined when you pit him against Gasquet whose name closely rhymes with basket. Also happy for Murray for keeping his WTF hopes alive. I just hope he stops playing the first sets of his matches like they were warm-up sessions. And Djokovic, well, he hasn’t lost in Beijing, has he?


Colin Says:

Another weird match. After dragging himself back from 2-5 down, Andy lost the first set in a tie break. In the end he won the decider fairly comprehensively – at least in terms of the score. In reality, you never quite knew what to expect from either man.

The Murray first serve is still not working reliably, and he’ll need it to work this week. At least, in this match, he showed no signs of physical distress.


Brightonian Says:

I do pity the Nadal haters and their twisted logic. After his injury at the AO, Nadal played poorly at Rio and Indian Wells and was mocked and pilloried, and many people were predicting that he was finished as a player. Now, when he returns on form and wins, there are all kinds of insinuations that he can’t have been injured in the first place. As if he would throw away the chance to defend the three summer titles from 2013!

Given the way the haters track his every movement, they will know that he was in training for the hard court season when the injury occurred, so it had nothing whatsoever to do with the Wimbledon loss. Also, he continued to train hard even while the hand was in a cast. He could still stay fit, and he could still hit his forehands. That’s why he was able to play so well today.

And as for this idea that he has a pattern of going AWOL after a shocking upset, please, please tell me that you trolls don’t really believe that? (If you do, it’s time to inform the carer who operates the computer on your behalf that you are overdue a lie down.)

Last year’s loss at Wimbledon was far more of a shock than this year’s. His next scheduled tournament was Canada. He turned up. He won it.

This year, a shock loss at Indian Wells. Next tournament: Miami. He was there.

Then on to clay, and a shock loss at Monte Carlo. He still played Barcelona.

A shock loss at Barcelona. He still played Madrid.

On to grass, and a shock loss at Halle to Dustin Brown. He still showed up at Wimbledon.

So stop boring us all with your nonsensical ravings. If you don’t like Nadal, keep away from stories about him. But at the very least show the guy some respect, because he is the most extraordinary competitor that the sport has ever seen, bar none. And never forget that the energy, passion, focus and commitment needed to be a tennis champion is just a tiny, tiny bit more than that needed to be an internet troll. Because conflating the two is, I suspect, where so many of you go wrong


Polo Says:

Colin, with Murray, it’s not so weird anymore. It has become the norm.


Giles Says:

@Brightonian. Excellent post.


Brando Says:

@Brightonian:

Welcome and great post.


Brando Says:

PS:

It’s typical of them:

He suffers a 7 month knee injury and cue:

Nah, he’s just bluffing. He’s spending that time to:

A- Serve a doping ban. Evidence? Who needs any! Ok!

or

B- He’s fixing up a game plan to beat Novak. Yeah but he’s just beat him 3 on the spin- surely the cause enough to think something’s working no? Hell no: he needs time to refine a game plan for the Donkey Cheese eating Champ of ours. Evidence? what is it with such a thing- none is needed here, take our word!

Okay!

LMFAO:

If you take what the good old naysayer’s say about Rafa and hold it as truth then it’s a colossal crime for Nadal to even be playing the sport!

Free tip:

Let it slide. Don’t empower it. Take it as the sour grapes dripe of fanatics of a player who has been handed some heavy losses by Rafa and all of a sudden it makes for a lot of fun reading. Laughably fun at times.

Better that than see it for what it is:

A series of baseless slurs based on nothing but cynical hate for a player!


Polo Says:

^^ sounds like a rant but I agree with Brando. Even I who is not a big Nadal fan get irritated with those who give a negative slant to everything that Nadal does.


Brando Says:

@Polo: Thanks. It was not really a rant but I guess it can be read as such. Rafa ain’t perfect and nor do most of his fans carry notions of him as such. Sure he can be wrong at times- anyone human can do so- but the least anyone can do when knocking him with wild, character demeaning accusations is atleast provide some form of credible evidence or reason for knocking him as such. Sometimes he warrants to get negativity hurled his way for something but at other points- and I personally feel most of the time- he gets ridiculous slurs hurled at him for no real genuine reason. Aside from the obvious- of course- he’s just one too many big ones v the slur throwing individuals favourite player. Apparently that’s cause enough for them to belittle his standing even if the accusations thrown at him are beyond baseless, lacking in fact, credibility or good reason. In Tennis: Nadal is evil incarnate for some.


Okiegal Says:

Congrats to all the winners…..what has happened to Stan the man?? I watched some of that match and he was way off, but Ito was way on…..Oh well…maybe he’ll get it back together soon!

Glad Rafa was back in good form……Rafa, I lost lots of sleep for you last night…..but it was totally worth it……win this thing!!


RZ Says:

@Margot – no camping this time. Probably credit is due to the time difference and the fact that I was asleep while Andy played each of his matches. :-)


Okiegal Says:

Brando^^^^ Your best sincere post to date. I am in agreement with this 100%!! I can’t believe the way this amazing athlete is ridiculed! His records speaks volumes of the athlete he is. Can’t people just leave it at that and move on….don’t get it??

Glad he’s back…..as Chick said, why would he miss the USO????? He was forced to, simple as that….


elina Says:

The slurs are, in a way, nothing less that compliments as they are based on an unhealthy exaggerated dislike of him for toppling their guy so many times.

As far as Stan goes, his great results (Australia, Monte Carlo) are the anomalies, not the inconsistent results which are more the norm for him.


Daniel Says:

We all knew Nadal would beat Gasquet but 6-0 on HC?! Damm, hw as just what the doctor order for a comeback, a player with zero confidence against him.

Next match is Isner, and play these giants with bomb serves is never a good gauge, even so, it is a tricky match if Isner serves great but can’t see him breaking Nadal so he will have to do in 2 breakers.

Djokovic also lost only 3 games and gets a quaky next.


Margot Says:

@Colin
Andy seems to be
1) starting to hang in matches, even when playing way below and
2) upping his game as the match progresses.
I’ve noticed he seems to start really stiffly with his serve, presume it’s his back, then, as the match progresses and he loosens up, his serve gets better.
He was able to do this prior to the op. so I’m taking it as a positive sign.
@RZ
Sleep tight…;)


elina Says:

Isner?

No, Gojo is next for Nadal. Isner plays Robredo who will be tired after a long last week. Isner rarely plays well outside the US.


jane Says:

as well as stan, tsonga seems to have gone awol.


Polo Says:

Tsonga, Berdych, Gasquet: classic underachievers.


SG1 Says:

Think Ferrer never fully recovered from getting to the FO final last year and ultimately losing. He finally had his chance to get that elusive slam and Rafa shut the door in his face. Tough thing to deal with mentally. His game is missing that one “difference maker” shot. Wouldn’t hurt if he was about 4 inches taller as well.


Hippy Chick Says:

Fantastic post from newbie Brigatonian,but also refreshing to get some unbiased feedback from Polo and Elina….


Hippy Chick Says:

Brando nice posts @10.31 and 11.17am,when your been sensible and not taking a pop at all and sundry you do make alot of sense….


Brando Says:

@Okiegal and Elina:

Thanks Okie.

The reason for hate: Tribalism.

Most fans seem set in tribal divides. For example: I root for Fed so naturally Nadal is anathema for me. Switch it around, different names and the formula seems to be:

Like Player x= must be anti-player c.

The thing is most such posters based on their blogging towards rival players seem to have their views existing on the most basic on human traits/ humans: jealousy, hate, dislike, spite etc.

They cannot stand their fav getting bettered so naturally that leads them to have these basic, not nice emotions for the player who bettered their guy.

In short: rather than elevating themselves, being sporting and thinking ‘hey, he beat my guy fair and square. well done to him for that.’ they chose to exist in a myriad of bitterness regarding the player who beat their guy.

It’s a common theme in the world of Sport: here in the UK in football it follows a similar pattern. You root for one team and watch the sheer volume of hatred some have for it. It’s incredible!

But the hatred would not exist had ONE particular detail been different:

The result of their fav v the hated player, Put simply:

Had their guy beat the hated player you would NEVER see the hatred exist for the other guy.

Re Rafa:

I consider it a HUGE COMPLIMENT:

The reason he gets hated-primarily- is because he is a hugely successfully player who have- as the record states, not I- bettered the favourite player of many large fan bases on a numerous occasion throughout his celebrated career.

Success breeds acclaim but also envy and record books seem to suggest:

Rafael Perrera Nadal has had a whole load of success!

Which nearly annoys some!

It’s a small price to pay, one that does not affect him and as a fan of his:

I’ll take at ANY point in time since it means my guy is experiencing a whole load of success!

I find this to be true:

The most hated individual/team in a given Sport also tend to be- you guessed it- the most successful.

In Tennis the most hated, or the one who receives the most volume of negativity seems to be Rafa out of the top guys.

No surprise there:

He’s 2nd only to RF interms of success from the current bunch and let’s face it:

A whole load of fans privately fear how he can change that little scenario also. Let’s not lie about it, otherwise they would post so often, negatively too about a player they dislike.

So ultimately for me:

It’s all cool. I welcome the hate. I hope that there’s a whole lot more of it down the line as it more than likely would mean good times for Rafa on court, and that’s all I care about in the end regarding him:

A magical player performing his best at his craft to the joy of many who love watching him do so! :-)


Brando Says:

PS:

Apologies about the above long post. Paragraphing shall be used more diligently here forth from your’s truly.


Okiegal Says:

Underachievers?? Hmmmm…..I will have to think about that for a minute…..The so called underachievers are great players themselves, but they have been forced to compete with the best that’s ever been, imo. That’s just how great the top guys are…..they make really good players not look so good…..unfortunate for the “underachievers”….That’s not to say that once in awhile they can on a given day beat the best…..that’s the sport, no?? We’ve seen that on occasion. We’ve even seen players ranked way out of top ten do the same……reminds me of a song lyric……”Many a tear has to fall, but it’s all in the game” …..the game of love, of course, but could also mean tennis!! Posters on TX love it!! Can’t wait for the first slam of the season!!


elina Says:

jane, Tsonga injured his wrist which apparently affected his performance today.

Along with Monfils’ knee injury, this doesn’t look good for France in Davis Cup vs. Team Fed and Co.


Brando Says:

Re Wawrinka:

No surprise there at all. Let’s face it: he surprised everyone including himself with the success he experienced at AO and to a lesser extent Monte Carlo. The number’s say it best: take out his performance in those 2 events and he would lie 14th in the year race based on his performance! With Wawrinka, IMHO, it was a wonderful case of a amazing opportunity presenting itself to him and him being prepared enough (maturity in game, mind and being)to take advantage of it.

A case of striking when a unique opportunity presented itself rather than the announcing of a new, more permanent force at the top of the game since when a player who has never really risen to the top of the game in the majority of his career prior to that point, a point he experiences relatively late in his career, it’s usually for a simple reason:

His talent (I refer to more than game with that) is just quite not upto it at the highest level.

Wawrinka said it best post his AO win himself(paraphrasing here): Just because I have won I am not all of a sudden going to be a Nadal, Djokovic level performer.

And so it has been. I personally think MARIN CILIC will be performing a lot better (younger age, a touch different generation, rather more overwhelming game etc).

Re Ferrer:

That guy needs to applauded for the fact that he’s in his 30′s and for the umpteenth season his still in the top 10 when his game exists within a ceiling, blatant limitations in comparison to virtually all the big players.

For him still to be relevant in 2014 is an achievement in itself let alone whatever his outcome is re WTF!


Hippy Chick Says:

Its hard enough beating one/two of the top 4 players,its even harder becoming one of the top 4 players,thats why they are the top 4 players,and have been for a decade,regardless of their rankings which might switch about,they are the players that have been the most consistent reaching the latter stages of the GS and other tournaments more often than not….


James Says:

Well, Nadal is 18-5 against Federer (2) and Djokovic (3) in the biggest tournaments, Grand Slams. It shouldn’t be too suprising if some of Roger or Novak fans don’t like him.


jane Says:

elina, thanks for the information.


Brando Says:

@James:

You have brilliantly summed up the point I was trying to make/get at in a couple of lines: bravo! I am actually surprised Fed has won only 2, for some reason I was thinking it was 3 until I just thought about it properly.

That is a phenomenal record by Rafa against the best on the biggest possible stage with the biggest prizes the sport has to offer on the line: it’s a astounding statistic that reflects his ability to produce the best Tennis in the most crucial of matches!

And yes: it’s a perfectly natural byproduct, understandable even if some fans of those players dislike Rafa because of that. Key word there though is some: as not all are like that. I have found that some have the elevated ability to rise above it, accept it for what it is and be very sporting about it all. Courbon for one comes to mind.

It is what it is ultimately.

Anyhow:

Post more frequently James I ask since you are one quality poster whenever you contribute to this site. Voicemail 1 is another Rafa fan like yourself who’s contribution I miss since like you the insight on offer is both intelligent and enjoyable to read.

Frequent this place more often with your posts James I request politely!


Steve 27 Says:

Safin and especially Nalbandian are the best undearchivers of 2000 but the “joie de vivre” and lack of work ethics were their worst enemy. Pity of them.

Rafa has to improve his serve if he wants to win the elusive WTF, this year can be the year and the possibility to equal Agassi as the only to win the big prizes of tennis while others can claim the ITF award of the year.


Sirius Says:

Now WTF is one of the big prizes of tennis??

Lol. I thought it was an exho for some.


Steve 27 Says:

Is not an exho, is an undervalued trophy. But tell me who is greater wilander or Nastase?


Sirius Says:

Who decides the values? Of course, rafa nadal fans!


Sirius Says:

^^ that’s why 750p olympic is more valued than 1000/1500p masters/WTF tournaments. Atp knows nothing. Rafans know it all! Lol


Steve 27 Says:

who is greater Wilander or Wilander, kid?


Steve 27 Says:

Who is greater Wilander or Nastase, kid?


Steve 27 Says:

tell me why your ancient idol want to play Rio in 2016 if only values only 750 points? is not happy with his gold medal in doubles?. lol!


Sirius Says:

you are asking me to compare two players from two different decades. I haven’t seen any of them play. Stats wise i’d pick wilander

btw, who is greater federer or nadal?


Steve 27 Says:

compare the two at 28 and I can tell you, the swiss is slightly better.


Polo Says:

When Nastase was playing in the 70s he was better than Wilander. When Wilander was playing in the 80s, he was better than Nastase.


Sirius Says:

Haha. You’re right, polo

Top story: Croatia at France in Davis Cup Final, World Group Playoffs Results