Rafa to continue Beijing form
Novak Djokovic has dominated Beijing in recent years. The Serbian is yet to taste defeat in the Chinese city, but this year he won’t be the champion. An elbow injury has put the world number 1 on the shelf.
A win for top seed Andy Murray will sneak him closer towards the number 1 ranking of his rival. He is the favourite to win in Beijing for the first time and has a good looking route to the final.
Winner in 2005 and 2015 finalist Rafael Nadal leads the bottom half of the draw. His hard court form has been patchy of late and he has yet to lift title on the surface in 2016.
This article analyses the players in the running in Beijing.
Murray begins his campaign against Andreas Seppi who has yet to recover his form since suffering from injury earlier in the year. Kuznetsov is a dangerous 2nd round opponent, but he lacks the belief to beat the top level players.
At the bottom of Murray’s section, Roberto Bautista-Agut holds the seeding. He will be tested by both Millman and potentially Kyle Edmund should the qualifier defeat Guillermo Garcia-Lopez, but the 8th seeded Spaniard is hard to beat and is favourite to advance to a quarter final with Murray.
The Scot has spoken of his tiredness following a gruelling summer schedule, but if he’s fit he at least makes it through his quarter.
Verdict – Murray won’t waste too much energy in this quarter.
The seemingly tireless Dominic Thiem heads quarter 2. The Austrian has been busy lately finishing runner up to Lucas Pouille in Metz before running out of steam last week in a heavy defeat to Albert Ramos.
Things are not about to get easier for Thiem as he faces St. Petersburg titleist Alexander Zverev in the first round. The pair meet for the 4th time this season and Thiem will be favourite following his 3 victories all on clay. Zverev has taken a set in each encounter although Thiem’s hard court statistics point to a 4th win from 4 meetings for the Austrian.
Jack Sock likely lies in wait for whoever comes through the youngster battle. The American faces Zhang Ze first up, and although the Chinese player has commendable results here previously the 2015 quarter finalist should come through.
2015 semi finalist David Ferrer is the other seed in the quarter and the rapidly declining Spaniard will probably get the better of Pablo Cuevas. Ferrer has won each previous meeting with Cuevas and is the better player on hard surfaces.
Another 2015 semi finalist may lie in wait in the next round if Fabio Fognini gets the better of Viktor Troicki. The Italian has defeated Troicki in their last 3 meetings, and the Serbian has played a lot of tennis in recent weeks.
Verdict – Open looking quarter will see Jack Sock emerge to semi final
Milos Raonic did not impress this summer after his appearance in the Wimbledon final. He did not look particularly interested a couple of weeks ago when losing to Youzhny in St. Petersburg. If he is back in the groove then he looks the most likely candidate for the semi final berth.
Florian Mayer is the first round opponent for Raonic. He will create chances but likely come up short. Whoever wins Jaziri and Pella’s first round match will be the next to take on Raonic, and neither are likely to cause the Canadian too much trouble.
Gasquet pushed Berdych to 3 sets in the Shenzhen final but the effort may show when he starts in Beijing. Sam Querrey knows his way around a hard court, is well rested following a dismal summer and has a good record in Beijing with 2 historic quarter final showings.
Bernard Tomic may have his hands full with Pablo Carreno Busta if his application is not right.
Verdict – Raonic to rediscover some form.
Nadal looks to be a smart choice to make the semi final of a hard court tournament that he tends to fare well at. He will have no trouble in dispatching the hard working but limited Paolo Lorenzi.
Adrian Mannarino qualified and will fancy his chances against Albert Ramos-Vinolas, who came up short in the Chengdu final against Karen Khachanov. Mannarino won’t cause Nadal many headaches.
Metz champion Lucas Pouille may come crashing down to earth at the hands of wildcard Yen Hsun-Lu who will have a decent shot at defending his 2015 quarter final. Both of his prospective 2nd round opponents – Grigor Dimitrov or Steve Johnson – can be Jekyll or Hyde on any given day. Dimitrov looks to have improved of late and will be favourite to come through that segment.
Verdict – Nadal to win through
Murray is short at a little over evens.
I fancy Nadal to get the better of Milos Raonic and he can be matched at 6 with Skybet
Sock at 34 represents a decent price