Nadal Dominates In Return At Beijing, Djokovic Stays Perfect; Serena, Sharapova Advance
by Staff | September 30th, 2014, 1:09 pm
  • 21 Comments

Rafael Nadal showed no rust Tuesday in Beijing. Playing in his first match in three months, Nadal crushed Richard Gasquet 6-4, 6-0 in the first round of the China Open.

Nadal, who missed the US hardcourt swing due to a right wrist injury, ran his record to 13-0 against the Frenchman after never getting broken and only losing three points on serve in the second set.

“In general I have to be happy the way that I played,” Nadal said. “After three months without a match, winning against a good player like Richard is a very positive comeback for me. I think I played solid, no mistakes. I’m happy the way I played.

“More important than winning or losing is spending time on court. That’s the key for me at the moment: spending time on court, playing matches. At least I am going to play two matches minimum here. That’s a positive thing. I’m going to try my best to play three.

“Today was an important day for me, the day that I am back,” he said. “To have the support of the people, this is important. It’s an important feeling to be back in competition. I’m very happy.”

Nadal moves on to face Peter Gojowczyk on Thursday.

“The draws are very hard,” he added. “[There are] very difficult players. Every single round is so tough. Every victory is very important for me. It’s very positive. At the moment I don’t aspire to win tournaments here in Asia. I go day by day. I am trying my best in every practice session, in every match, and let’s see how far I can go.”

Top seed and four-time champion Novak Djokovic kept his record perfect at the tournament improving to 20-0 after hammering Guillermo Garcia-Lopez 6-2, 6-1. In addition to his title defense the Serb has the No. 1 ranking on his mind as well.

“I’m fighting for No. 1 in the world,” said Djokovic. “Of course, every tournament is important. This is already a huge motivation. I love competing. I love being on the court, being part of great tournaments like here in Beijing. Chinese people make me feel welcome, make me feel at home. This is definitely encouraging for me and for my motivation.”

Djokovic now meets Vasek Pospisil Wednesday.

Among the other winners on a perfect day for seeds were Andy Murray, Tomas Berdych, Ernests Gulbis and John Isner.

In the women’s draw, Serena Williams, Simona Halep and Maria Sharapova advanced while Genie Bouchard lost to Sabine Lisicki.

“Tonight I was aware that I wanted to start out strong, and I think that was the main difference,” said Serena after a quick 6-2, 6-3 win over Pironkova. “I was just trying to make sure I was able to win a game early on.”

In Tokyo, Australian Open champion and top seed Stan Wawrinka was stunned by Tatsuma Ito 7-5, 6-2. The World No. 4 Wawrinka hasn’t made a tournament semifinal since Queen’s.

“It was not a good day at the office,” Wawrinka said. “He started well and then I was trying to come back in the match. First round matches are never easy. He played well, particularly at the end of the first set when he was very aggressive.”

The tournament also lost No. 3 seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga who fell to qualifier Michal Przysiezny in a final set breaker.

“I came here expecting to play good tennis, but I have not had much energy the past few days,” said Tsonga. “I have had a stomach virus, which has given me trouble. My body was not strong enough to compete at my best level. I tried my best on the court and gave everything.”

Today, Japanese hero Kei Nishikori returns to face Ivan Dodig.

BEIJING WEDNESDAY SCHEDULE
NATIONAL TENNIS STADIUM start 12:30 pm
WTA – [3] P Kvitova (CZE) vs S Peng (CHN)
WTA – S Stosur (AUS) vs [6] C Wozniacki (DEN)
Not Before 3:00 pm
ATP – [1] N Djokovic (SRB) vs V Pospisil (CAN)
Not Before 7:30 pm
WTA – C Suárez Navarro (ESP) vs [4] M Sharapova (RUS)
Not Before 9:00 pm
ATP – [8] J Isner (USA) vs T Robredo (ESP)

LOTUS COURT start 12:30 pm
ATP – [WC] V Troicki (SRB) vs [3] T Berdych (CZE)
ATP – P Andujar (ESP) vs [5] G Dimitrov (BUL)
NB completion 2nd on NTS – A Cornet (FRA) vs L Davis (USA)
WTA – [7] A Kerber (GER) vs S Kuznetsova (RUS)
ATP – After suitable rest – E Gulbis (LAT) / M Matkowski (POL) vs [WC] N Djokovic (SRB) / F Krajinovic (SRB)


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21 Comments for Nadal Dominates In Return At Beijing, Djokovic Stays Perfect; Serena, Sharapova Advance

James Says:

Good to see Rafa back. Didn’t see the match but I think he’s fit enough to compete at the highest level again. Go for the title, Rafa.


RZ Says:

Never in doubt. Rafa wouldn’t come back unless he felt he is able to win.


Hippy Chick Says:

Going by the highlights Rafa did look pretty good,as did Nole,but i suppose its only one game so i dont know how much one can really decipher from that??


Hippy Chick Says:

Giles thanks for the link,aww so sweet of Rafa,although people will probably find something negative in it,either that or anything positive i doubt very much they would be interested in??


Humble Rafa Says:

I only give flowers rarely. Li Na deserved it.


Brando Says:

@Giles:

Thanks for that link! Awesome to see Rafa involved in Li Na’s farewell. He was the only male player to react (i’m sure more followed later) when the news broke of Li’s imminent retiring, at least from the top ones, that I saw on the web.

He also posted a affectionate post with a photo making Li’s name. You could tell he liked her as an individual and more than likely has great respect, regard for her as a player.

How could you not though:

Li Na- along with Kim Clijster- is the most genuinely likable women’s player to have hit the big time in the last 10 plus years.

Her natural warmth will be missed for sure!


Michael Says:

How is this man able to start firing all cylinders from day one ? I am just amazed by how Rafa keeps making such extraordinary comebacks even after a lay off. It is definitely not easy. You always need time to settle in but Rafa, the legend that he is defies all odds and exceeds even the most optimist expectations. And more importantly not on a Clay court, but on a hard court against one of the best players namely Gasquet and the striking thing is that he has done it with such consummate ease.


Ben Pronin Says:

I’m usually at the forefront of calling out Nadal for his bs but a little perspective for fans on both sides:

This “layoff” wasn’t really a layoff. Just because we haven’t seen him play an official event in what amounts to only 3 events doesn’t mean he wasn’t playing tennis. In fact, we know he was. He only injured his right wrist. That didn’t stop him from practicing his forehand, which is his most important shot anyway. It’s not the same as when he had knee troubles and was only allowed to go fishing as a form of “physical” activity.

Additionally, even though he hasn’t played an official match since Wimbledon, he did play a full 3 set exo against Tsonga. I know it’s only an exo and the physical exertion isn’t the same, but you can still see how well a player is hitting the ball. (Kinda like in 2013 when Nadal looked really good in the MSG exo against Del Potro and went on to win Indian Wells). And Nadal was hitting the ball well against Tsonga. He even won the match.

And you factor that all into the fact that he 1) owns Gasquet because of the 2) insane match up problem he poses and 3) Gasquet has been struggling with his form lately as well. So sure it seems crazy if you just look at it as “Nadal hasn’t played in months and is coming off an injury just shellshacked a top 25 guy” but there’s so much more to it. At the end of the day, there’s nothing surprising about this result. It’s not out of the ordinary, it’s not suspicious, it’s just business as usual.


RZ Says:

@Ben – I would also add that Gasquet is not known for his mental strength. Going in to the match knowing he had never beaten Rafa before probably didn’t help his cause.


jane Says:

ben, you make a lot of good points. the nature of rafa’s injury this time wasn’t such that it would impede his whole game (like knee, for example) given it was his right wrist. so the practice likely helped keep him sharp.

rz, still think he’ll win one of his first 3 events back?

it’ll be interesting to see who comes through on the top half: nole, andy, cilic, dimitrov… probably one of the first 2 i’d think. haven’t seen matches – too late! – so can’t judge form.

nice that kei is getting a lot of fanfare in tokyo, as would be expected but even moreso with his us open run.


Hippy Chick Says:

Just wondering why people are so shocked when Rafa wins so convincingly on a HC,3 finals at the AO winning one title,3 finals at the USO winning twice,some other tournies here and there, i mean its not as though hes not capable of winning on HCs for goodness sake jeez?


jane Says:

i’m not shocked hippy; i always thought he’d return strongly. let’s see how the rest of the event goes. i think he’s got great records against the players on his side (well he does against most players anyhow), so he should make the final methinks.


Hippy Chick Says:

Thanks Jane,i dont know how he will fair this early back after an injury,but the point i was making is even with 5 none CC GS people still give him no credit when it comes to playing on other surfaces for whatever reasons??


jane Says:

^ some do hippy; some don’t. don’t pay much mind.


RZ Says:

@Jane – I do think there’s a strong possibility that Rafa will win one of the first 3 events he plays. He’ll probably make the final of this one against Djokovic. I’m not convinced that the other guys would knock him out before the final.


Hippy Chick Says:

Well never let it be said that all Rafa fans are arrogant enough and expect him to automatically win everything he enters??


Okiegal Says:

Ben says…… “I’m usually at the forefront of calling out Nadal for his bs”…….Ben, tell us something we don’t know! I did read on and the post was actually positive towards Rafa……for a change.


Okiegal Says:

@Chick……I don’t like to be a “Braggart McTagert”
In regards to Rafa and his challenges……I for one don’t like eating crow……I’ll brag after the win in a humble manner, and after a loss, I will give congrats to the winner and cry in private!! I’m looking forward to seeing how the end of his season plays out. Might be better than usual since he’s going into it differently this year. We will see. But whatever…..so glad our guy is back!!


Hippy Chick Says:

RZ/Jane you think he will win one of the three remaining events?well those are your words not ones of the Rafa fans,so at the very least,i suppose we cant be hung out to dry for sounding arrogant?hes never won Shanghai,Paris,WTFs,so i for one wont be holding my breath and especially after three months without competitive play,just to have him back playing again is enough for the moment….


Tennis Vagabond Says:

Some great match ups coming and no thread to play in!

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