By Abigail Hinto
(October 2, 2013) BEIJING – Some random observations from around the grounds on the third day of the China Open.
- The rain yesterday seemed to have cleared the atmosphere of smog and haze. We finally had clear blue skies and the air quality index has vastly improved to a “Good” 60 today from an “Unhealthy” 190 reading last Monday.
- First up on center court was the steady Lleyton Hewitt versus the mercurial Fabio Fognini. But we all know steady Hewitt is way past his prime and it was error after error from him in this 2nd round match. Hewitt didn’t give the bad side of Fognini enough time to show up as he lost 6-0, 6-1 in less than an hour.
- It would no doubt be a great achievement for Fernando Verdasco if he qualifies again for the ATP World Tour Finals, although in doubles this time. He and his partner David Marrero, currently in 8th place in the race to London took a step in the right direction winning their first round match against the team of Tommy Robredo and Grigor Dimitrov 7-5, 6-7 (5), 10-7. It was a match heavily dominated by the serve with the only break happening in the 11th game in the first set. That’s when Verdasco was able to use his forehand to get the upper hand in what little rallies the match the produced. Next up for them, the winner of the Nestor/Paes match.
- We’ve long talked about Rafael Nadal shorts from when he first came out wearing what has become his signature piratas, to this year when he started sporting shorter shorts. But let’s acknowledge Tommy Robredo who has been wearing short shorts way before Nadal did. And today, the they looked to be especially shorter.
- Kunlun, the water sponsor of China Open fills their water bottles to the brim that you often end up spilling water on yourself every time you open them. I keep forgetting about this tiny little fact that I have spilled on myself several times already. I’ve seen the same thing happen to Nadal’s physiotherapist. Today, it was Grigor Dimitrov’s turn to suffer at the hands of these water bottles.
- There have been several players this year who are having a successful comeback from serious injury. Of course, Rafael Nadal has had the highest profile of them all, but both Tommy Robredo and Flavia Pennetta also had a great tournament at the US Open among others and have seen their rankings go back up. Another player on the upward trail in her comeback bid is Andrea Petkovic who has already logged in two quality three-set wins here first against Victoria Azarenka and Tuesday against Svetlana Kuznetsova. But the process of returning from injury is never easy and Petkovic shared a bit of her own experience about it after being off the tour for a year and a half and undergoing two surgeries. She says the most frustrating part is thinking the worst part was the injury but turns out it’s not and it was losing her feeling for the ball on the court and not moving as well anymore. But through persistence and hard work she’s once again starting to play well and finally getting the good results to go with it.
Abigail Hinto and Natalie Ho are covering the 2013 China Open in Beijing for Tennis Panorama News.