Gonzalez, Robredo Set for Beijing Duel

Posted on September 16, 2007

One current and one former Top 10 star will square off for title glory in the Chinese capital Sunday afternoon, as Fernando Gonzalez and Tommy Robredo compete in the final of the $500,000 China Open in Beijing.

Gonzalez and Robredo are battling for two of the remaining five spots in the Tennis Masters Cup in Shanghai. Gonzalez came in at 11th in the ATP Race and will move up to 7th with a title and 8th with a runner-up finish; Robredo was 12th in the ATP Race coming in and will move up to 9th with a title and 11th as runner-up.

This is the second all-Spanish speaking hardcourt final of the year on the ATP circuit, after Robredo’s runnerup finish to fellow Spaniard David Ferrer in the second week of the season in Auckland, New Zealand.

Gonzalez will be playing his third ATP final of the year, having reached the championship round twice before but finishing runner-up both times, at the Australian Open (to World No. 1 Roger Federer in his first Slam final) and at the ATP Masters Series event at Rome (to World No. 2 Rafael Nadal in his second final at that level).

The Chilean is 7-10 lifetime in ATP finals. Just one of his seven career titles has come on hard, at Auckland in January 2005; five of his trophies have come on clay courts and one, at 2005 Basel, came on indoor carpet.

Having gone 0-4 in the summer hardcourt season, Gonzalez has revived his form here. He has gone to three sets three times in his first four rounds this week, including a 7-5, 6-7(5), 6-4 quarterfinal win over No. 6 seed Hyung-Taik Lee on Friday and a 2-6, 6-3, 6-4 semifinal victory over No. 4 seed Ivan Ljubicic on Saturday.

The World No. 7 (former No. 5) is now 4-0 at this event, having made his career Beijing debut this week.

Robredo is playing his third ATP final of the year, having won the clay court title in Sopot earlier this summer (beating Jose Acasuso in the final) and finishing runner-up at Auckland in January (falling to David Ferrer).

The Spaniard is 5-5 lifetime in ATP finals. None of his five career titles have come on hard, and only one of his 10 previous career finals has come on this surface, the aforementioned runner-up finish at Auckland this year. All of his other titles and runner-up finishes came on outdoor clay, including his Sopot win earlier this summer.

Robredo is coming off a somewhat disappointing summer hardcourt season, dropping his opening matches at ATP Masters Series events in Montreal and Cincinnati before reaching the third round of New Haven and the US Open. He came into Beijing ranked outside of the Top 10 (No. 11) for the first time since May 2006.

The World No. 11 (former No. 5) is now 4-0 at this event, having made his career Beijing debut this week.

In the doubles final, No. 4 seeds Rik de Voest and Ashley Fisher play Chris Haggard and Yen-Hsun Lu. Both teams are playing their first ATP events together, but de Voest and Fisher have played once previously in the Challengers, winning Vancouver last month. They beat No. 2 seeds Scott Lipsky and David Martin en route, while Haggard and Lu beat No. 1 seeds Mahesh Bhupathi and Rohan Bopanna and No. 3 seeds Eric Butorac and Ross Hutchins en route. Haggard comes in with the most ATP titles of the four finalists, with six. Fisher owns two ATP doubles titles, Lu owns one and de Voest is competing in his career-first ATP final.

The doubles final begins at 3pm local time, with the singles final to begin not before 7pm local time. (ATP Digital Services)