Final Thoughts on the China Open


By Abigail Hinto

(October 6, 2013) BEIJING –

1.  Should the China Open ATP event switch status with Shanghai?  As it stands now, Beijing is the only WTA Premier Mandatory tournament that isn’t combined with the same-level ATP Masters 1000.   The women are supposed to be the bigger draw here in Beijing, but the tournament often manage to get a big men’s field as an ATP 500, so on the ground, the feeling is that it’s a similar level event.  This year alone, it boasted 6 of the top 10 ATP players.  The venue is China’s National Tennis Center where its center court seats 15,000 spectators, already fit for a Masters 1000.  The event draws a big crowd not only because it’s a combined event, but also because of its position in the calendar where it often falls during a week-long holiday in China.  Therefore the Shanghai tournament the following week suffers in attendance.  No way would people go on leave from work following a week of holiday.  So optics wise, Beijing wins over Shanghai.


I also feel the venue for the tournament in Beijing is more accessible to the public than the one in Shanghai.  Shanghai lacks access to public transport while Beijing has a metro stop right in front of the tennis center.


However, if the two China tournaments do switch status then the ATP would have a calendar where the bigger 1000 Masters event will come before the smaller ATP 500.  But when has the ATP calendar ever made perfect sense?


2.  I keep mentioning this because it cannot be escaped.  I’m talking about Beijing’s unhealthy air quality situation.  Personally, already coming from a very polluted city, Beijing’s haze is something I’ve never seen before.  It’s right there in front of you, you can see it, feel it, smell it too.  The air quality index have shown numbers labeled as “Unhealthy” “Very Unhealthy”, “Hazardous”  I don’t know how players manage to play in this condition, but when asked, they’re very blase about it.


Rafael Nadal: “Yesterday and especially today again the pollution is here, so that makes the feeling, you know, not beautiful.  But if you talk about if I feel when I am breathing, no, I don’t feel.”


Tomas Berdych: “I think it’s quite used to here.  Probably we not going to get anything more than that.  But that’s how it is.  We are here in Beijing.”


Serena Williams: “Well, I’m a California girl, so I can’t help you there.”  And again: “I don’t know why, but I felt nothing.”


Novak Djokovic:  “It is what it is.  It’s something that has been the same for last few years that I been coming back here.  The people who are in organization of the tournament, they are trying make us feel at home and do everything possible in order to get a good tournament.  Sometimes you cannot effect the weather.  It’s nature and he’s a higher force.”


I guess, you also can’t ask the players to bad-mouth the tournament that’s hosting them.


3.  Every time the two tours land in China, comments about the Chinese fans inevitably come up.  Timid Asians?  That’s a falsehood when it comes to Chinese fandom.  They’re as enthusiastic, creative, resourceful as you’ll ever see.  From Djokovic fans, to Nadal fans, to Kvitova fans and Serena fans, they go all out in showing their support for their favorite players.  Banners, face paints, t-shirts, pins, gifts, coordinated cheering they’ve got everything here.  And it brings a lively atmosphere to so many of the matches all around the venue.  But there’s also a downside to it, as when a fan breached security, jumped over a fence and got close to Nadal during one of his practice sessions.


The views expressed here are those of the author.  Abigail Hinto was covering the Beijing Open for Tennis Panorama News.


Serena Williams Wins China Open, Her 10th Title of the Year

Serena Williams wins China Open

(October 6, 2013) BEIJING – World No. 1 Serena Williams took home her 10th tennis title of the year and 56th for her career on Sunday when she captured the China Open. The American defeated Jelena  Jankovic 6-2, 6-2 to improve her record for 2013 to 73-4.

Williams become the first WTA player since Justine Henin back in 2007 to win 10 tournaments in a season.

“I’m really excited – I didn’t think I’d win this tournament starting out, so I’m really happy to be here holding the trophy,” said Williams. Congratulations to Jelena for such a great tournament as well.”

This is Williams’ second time winning the Beijing tournament, she also won it in 2004. Williams stands alone I seventh place for the most singles titles won by a WTA player in the Open Era at 56 titles and counting.

“I had a great week playing in this beautiful venue,” Jankovic said. “I always enjoy coming back here to the China Open – it’s a pleasure for me to play in front of you all in the finals again. Serena was just too good today, and big congratulations to her.”

Jankovic is projected to move back into the top ten at No. 8 when Monday’s rankings come out. Her performance this week makes her the 15th player in WTA history to pass $15 million in career prize money.



Novak Djokovic Tops Rafael Nadal for China Open Title

Novak Djokovic

By Abigail Hinto

(October 6, 2013) Out to prove something after losing the No. 1 ranking to Rafael Nadal as of Monday, Novak Djokovic came out firing on all cylinders, hitting winners in all corners, defending from everywhere and serving effectively well in his 6-3, 6-4 win to claim the China Open.  But what sealed the win was Djokovic’s ability to sustain the high level of tennis and focused determination he started with until the end of the match.  As Djokovic said, what what was the difference between his last two matches against Nadal and this one was “probably my serve, but also kind of emotional stability in the crucial moments I managed to stay tough and not drop in the concentration, which I think I did in both Montréal and US Open in the important moments.  You know, I learned my lesson.  It was few very tough and close matches that I lost against Rafa in hard courts, especially the last one in US Open final.”


For Rafael Nadal, the opposite happened.  Unable to execute his shots, the few opportunities he had controlling the points, he ended up missing on his final shot.  “I didn’t see the way to stop him this afternoon.  This afternoon he was too strong for me.  I didn’t play my best match this afternoon, but he played at a very high level with his serve,” said Nadal. Nadal added, “(Djokovic) was able to hit all the balls where he wants to hit.  When that’s happening against a player like Novak, you are dead.  You don’t  have not one chance.   So that’s what happened.  I played against a great player, one of the best players that I ever seen playing very well.  Was not the day to beat him.”  Nadal failed to make any inroads, not able to create any break points in Djokovic’s service games, and he was broken early in both sets.  Nadal ended the match with more unforced errors and less winners than Djokovic, a surefire recipe to a loss.


Novak Djokovic wins the China Open for the fourth time with a comfortable 6-3, 6-4 win, remaining undefeated in all the 4 years he’s played in Beijing.

A tournament always just has one winner.  But this time, the two top players in the world will leave Beijing with great feelings about their week.  While Rafael Nadal recaptures No. 1 from Novak Djokovic, Djokovic has finally managed to defeat Rafael Nadal again after losing to him the last three times to retain his trophy.


For Rafael Nadal, getting back to No. 1 “is something special for me.  I’m enjoying the situation that I’m playing one of the best seasons of my career and probably one of the more emotional years, if not the most.”


For Novak Djokovic, he said he “needed this win today.  I really wanted to get my hands on the trophy and win against Nadal, who has been the best player so far in 2013.”


So the most prolific rivalry in men’s tennis closes another chapter to their story.  But the story is far from over.  In fact next week, a new chapter begins in Shanghai.


China Open: What They Said

By Abigail Hinto

(October 3, 2013) BEIJING –

Serena Williams Beijing

Serena Williams


On whether women should play best of 5 in grand slams:


“Well, you know, the top players, the women, we always told the Grand Slams initially that we are willing, ready, and able to play the best‑of‑five if that was what made the difference between, at the time, equal prize money or match scheduling or whatever it took.”

“So, yeah, we’re all ready.”


On court conditions being slow:


     “… for me, the balls are just sliding and I feel like I’m hitting everything late.  But I’m not good at telling court conditions.  I mean, I’m not good at it at all.  I can play on any surface, so for me, I’m not the best person to ask that question.”


Djokovic 10052012

Novak Djokovic


     On Viktor Troicki’s case and starting a petition to have some changes in the doping control system:


“… the whole case around Viktor is just very unfair towards him.  I believe that he’s innocent.”


” [It's] very bad for our sport.  That’s very bad for anti‑doping agency, you know, to have people who are responsible for this work to fail to say what really happened that day.”


“So the reason why I was the first one to write a petition for the rule change is to try to spread the awareness to the people around that obviously there is ‑‑ it all comes down to who said what and who believes in who…”


“It’s just not fair towards the players, because there has to be I guess technology or a camera or an additional person in the room while you’re doing the test, because then ‑‑ the player has no really rights.”


Caroline Wozniacki China Open

Caroline Wozniacki


     On her upcoming match against Serena Williams and trying to qualify for the Year End Championships:


     “For me, tomorrow I have so much to play for because the Championships are coming up and I’m trying to grab a spot there.  I really need to win tomorrow to have a chance.  We’ll just to have to wait and see what happens.”




Abigail Hinto and Natalie Ho are covering the 2013 China Open in Beijing for Tennis Panorama News.


Defending China Open Champ Victoria Azarenka Done in by Double Faults and Andrea Petkovic


(September 30, 2013) BEIJING – Double faults and erratic play were the undoing of defending China Open champion and No. 2 Victoria Azarenka on Monday. She lost to Andrea Petkovic 6-4 2-6 6-4 in first round play in Beijing.

To go along with 15 double faults, Azarenka hit 44 unforced errors and appeared to still be suffering from the effects of an illness she had during last week’s Tokyo event where she lost in the second round.

“I don’t take the last week even as a tournament,” she continued.

“If I’m going to be doing it again, I probably should have taken a longer break and just prepare myself.  I don’t feel like I was ready to play ‑‑ there is no excuse ‑‑ to be 100%, but the preparation wasn’t there enough, so I cannot deny that.

“It’s just my mistakes for not paying much attention after the US Open how I managed my time and how I managed my health.  I mean, today’s match is today’s match.  I felt good.  I didn’t have any issues, but overall, that comes maybe.  There is no excuses.”

“It was an awful match and very bad performance from me, so not much to say,” Azarenka said.

“It happens once, twice a year to every player, and happened to me today.”

Andrea Petkovic

Andrea Petkovic

Petkovic appeared ill in the second set when she had to take a medical time out. She lost seven games on the trot and the Belarusian evened up the match at a set all.

In the third set both women traded breaks but it was Azarenka’s 15th double fault coming on break point as she was serving in the ninth game which cost her the game. The German served out the match after that.

“I’m going to come back, reevaluate, practice more,” Azarenka said in response to the loss.  “I just needed more preparation, and that’s what I’m going to get now before the last tournament.”



Beijing, China
September 28-October 6, 2013

Results – Monday, September 30, 2013
WTA Singles – Second Round
(5) Sara Errani (ITA) d. (Q) Misaki Doi (JPN) 63 62
Lucie Safarova (CZE) d. Kaia Kanepi (EST) 63 63

WTA Singles – First Round
Andrea Petkovic (GER) d. (2) Victoria Azarenka (BLR) 64 26 64
(8) Jelena Jankovic (SRB) d. Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (RUS) 16 64 60
(14) Ana Ivanovic (SRB) d. Flavia Pennetta (ITA) 76(9) 61
Svetlana Kuznetsova (RUS) d. Hsieh Su-Wei (TPE) 61 61
Bojana Jovanovski (SRB) d. Sorana Cirstea (ROU) 63 62
(Q) Eugenie Bouchard (CAN) d. Magdalena Rybarikova (SVK) 64 61
(Q) Polona Hercog (SLO) d. Monica Puig (PUR) 61 64
(Q) Galina Voskoboeva (KAZ) d. (Q) Sharon Fichman (CAN) 64 63
(WC) Zhang Shuai (CHN) d. Peng Shuai (CHN) 63 63

WTA Doubles – First Round
Lisicki/Medina Garrigues (GER/ESP) d. (5) Groenefeld/Peschke (GER/CZE) 64 16 103 (Match TB)
(8) Black/Mirza (ZIM/IND) d. Date-Krumm/Scheepers (JPN/RSA) 63 63
Chan/Huber (TPE/USA) d. (WC) Williams/Williams (USA/USA) 67(3) 64 119 (Match TB)
Soler-Espinosa/Suárez Navarro (ESP/ESP) d. (WC) Sun/Zhang (CHN/CHN) 76(4) 60
Chan/Zheng (TPE/CHN) d. (WC) Shvedova/Zhang (KAZ/CHN) 63 36 105 (Match TB)
Hantuchova/Raymond (SVK/USA) d. Kudryavtseva/Rodionova (RUS/AUS) 75 63
Dushevina/Parra Santonja (RUS/ESP) d. Husarova/Kalashnikova (SVK/GEO) 62 63

ATP Singles – First Round
[WC] L Hewitt (AUS) d [7] T Haas (GER) 76(6) 63
B Tomic (AUS) d [WC] Z Zhang (CHN) 76(4) 64
[Q] R Bautista Agut (ESP) d G Dimitrov (BUL) 64 62
F Fognini (ITA) d T Robredo (ESP) 75 46 63
P Kohlschreiber (GER) d A Montanes (ESP) 75 16 76(4)

ATP Doubles – First Round
[3] A Qureshi (PAK) / J Rojer (NED) d [WC] Y Lu (TPE) / D Wu (CHN) 64 63


Notes From Behind the Wall at the 2013 China Open


by Abigail Hinto

(September 30, 2013) BEIJING – Notes from Behind the Wall is back for the 2013 edition of the China Open.  The wall is proving to be a tough barrier to our dispatches with the Wi-Fi not working at the media center and the VPN not connecting on my laptop.  But we’re persistent, and we will manage.


– First up, the ever persistent haze and smog.  Were we just lucky last year when the whole tournament made it through with mostly clear skies?  Flying in on Monday, I thought I was arriving in Beijing at dawn and not at high Noon.  Lights were already turned on for the courts by 3:30pm.  Pictures looked like stills for some horror movies.  The app for Beijing’s air quality shows that today’s is “Unhealthy.”  I can only feel sorry for the players as they play through this condition.



Rafael Nadal had a scheduled appearance at the booth of Kunlun, the water sponsor.  When we found out he hadn’t arrived yet at the scheduled hour, we decided we had time to check it out.  As we made it to the sponsors area, we didn’t even have to search for the booth of Kunlun, as slowly approaching us were a mob of people and in the middle of it all was Nadal himself.  It felt like a stampede of wildebeests was coming straight at you and you only had a second to get out of the way.


Serena Williams China Open doubles

–  Top singles players nowadays usually play doubles outside the grand slams to maybe get in a match before their singles matches or have “practice matches” to help them with their games.  They try to have more fun and are less intense on the court.  But on Monday, at the Williams/Williams- Huber/Chan match, Serena Williams and to a lesser extent, Venus Williams showed that they’re not taking this match lightly.  Serena was definitely the more intense player, constantly fist-pumping and urging on Venus.  And the fans were responding to them with shouts of “C’mon, Serena!” and “C’mon, Venus!”


But the star of the match turned out to be Hao-Ching Chan.  She showed from the start she was never intimidated and was never afraid.  And as she started to match the Williams’ intensity with her own, grunting along in her high-pitched voice, going toe-to-toe in the baseline exchanges and poaching at the net for volley winners, she turned the fans to her side.  As much as she was fighting hard out there, she was showing that she was enjoying the battle too, flashing smiles every time she comes out on top.  And the crowd loved it and was treated to a competitive and exciting match.  Huber/Chan eventually saved match points, and another volley winner from Chan in turn set up match point for her team which they eventually converted as Serena served a double fault.  An unfortunate end (for Serena’s racquet as well – chucked and thrown away after the double fault) to an otherwise high quality, high intensity doubles match – 6-7 (3), 6-4, 11-9.  The fans left having discovered a player to root for in Hao-Ching Chan.

Abigail Hinto and Natalie Ho are covering the 2013 China Open in Beijing for Tennis Panorama News.

Photos from Monday’s play and the players party from Natalie Ho.


[1] S Williams (USA) vs [WC] F Schiavone (ITA) – WTA

Not Before 3:00 PM
[1] N Djokovic (SRB) vs L Rosol (CZE) – ATP
[Q] S Giraldo (COL) vs [2] R Nadal (ESP) – ATP

Not Before 7:30 PM
B Jovanovski (SRB) vs [4] N Li (CHN) – WTA
[3] D Ferrer (ESP) vs V Pospisil (CAN) – ATP

LOTUS COURT start 12:30 pm
F Mayer (GER) vs [5] R Gasquet (FRA) – ATP

Not Before 3:00 PM
[13] S Lisicki (GER) vs [WC] V Williams (USA) – WTA
M Niculescu (ROU) vs [6] C Wozniacki (DEN) – WTA
P Andujar (ESP) vs [4] T Berdych (CZE) – ATP

MOON COURT start 12:30 pm
A Seppi (ITA) vs [6] S Wawrinka (SUI) – ATP

Not Before 2:30 PM
[10] R Vinci (ITA) vs [WC] S Zhang (CHN) – WTA
V Lepchenko (USA) vs [9] P Kvitova (CZE) – WTA

Not Before 6:30 PM
L Robson (GBR) vs [7] A Kerber (GER) – WTA

COURT 1 start 12:30 pm
S Querrey (USA) vs M Youzhny (RUS) – ATP
[8] J Isner (USA) vs [WC] D Wu (CHN) – ATP
[11] S Stephens (USA) vs [Q] E Bouchard (CAN) – WTA
N Djokovic (SRB) / S Wawrinka (SUI) vs [2] M Bhupathi (IND) / R Lindstedt (SWE) – ATP – After suitable rest

COURT 3 start 12:30 pm
F Verdasco (ESP) vs [Q] S Devvarman (IND) – ATP

Not Before 2:00 PM
J Goerges (GER) / B Zahlavova Strycova (CZE) vs [2] S Hsieh (TPE) / S Peng (CHN) – WTA
[Q] Y Lu (TPE) vs N Davydenko (RUS) – ATP
M Fyrstenberg (POL) / M Matkowski (POL) vs F Fognini (ITA) / A Seppi (ITA) – ATP – After suitable rest

COURT 4 start 12:30 pm
[6] R Kops-Jones (USA) / A Spears (USA) vs V King (USA) / G Voskoboeva (KAZ) – WTA

Not Before 3:00 PM
P Kohlschreiber (GER) / M Youzhny (RUS) vs C Fleming (GBR) / J Marray (GBR) – ATP – After suitable rest

COURT 7 start 12:30 pm
[Q] L Davis (USA) vs [12] C Suarez Navarro (ESP) – WTA
M Matosevic (AUS) vs J Benneteau (FRA) – ATP
K Mladenovic (FRA) / F Pennetta (ITA) vs [Alt] S Soler-Espinosa (ESP) / C Suarez Navarro (ESP) – WTA – After suitable rest
S Lisicki (GER) / A Medina Garrigues (ESP) vs D Hantuchova (SVK) / L Raymond (USA) – WTA – After suitable rest

COURT 8 start 12:30 pm
V Dushevina (RUS) / A Parra Santonja (ESP) vs [4] J Jankovic (SRB) / K Srebotnik (SLO) – WTA
M Kirilenko (RUS) vs U Radwanska (POL) – WTA
T Haas (GER) / F Mayer (GER) vs [WC] M Gong (CHN) / Z Li (CHN) – ATP – After suitable rest
[1] S Errani (ITA) / R Vinci (ITA) vs H Chan (TPE) / L Huber (USA) – WTA – After suitable rest


China Open Monday Schedule


Beijing, China
September 28-October 6, 2013


B Tomic (AUS) vs [WC] Z Zhang (CHN) – ATP

Not Before 3:00 PM
[WC] S Zhang (CHN) vs S Peng (CHN) – WTA
A Petkovic (GER) vs [2] V Azarenka (BLR) – WTA

Not Before 7:30 PM
[7] T Haas (GER) vs [WC] L Hewitt (AUS) – ATP

Not Before 9:00 PM
L Safarova (CZE) vs K Kanepi (EST) – WTA

LOTUS COURT start 12:30 pm
F Pennetta (ITA) vs [14] A Ivanovic (SRB) – WTA
F Fognini (ITA) vs T Robredo (ESP) – ATP
A Montanes (ESP) vs P Kohlschreiber (GER) – ATP

Not Before 6:30 PM
[5] S Errani (ITA) vs [Q] M Doi (JPN) or [Q] S Soler-Espinosa (ESP) – WTA

MOON COURT start 12:30 pm
[8] J Jankovic (SRB) vs A Pavlyuchenkova (RUS) – WTA

Not Before 2:00 PM
[WC] S Williams (USA) / V Williams (USA) vs H Chan (TPE) / L Huber (USA) – WTA
S Hsieh (TPE) vs S Kuznetsova (RUS) – WTA
[Q] L Davis (USA) vs [12] C Suarez Navarro (ESP) – WTA

COURT 1 start 12:30 pm
B Jovanovski (SRB) vs S Cirstea (ROU) – WTA
[WC] Z Sun (CHN) / Y Zhang (CHN) vs [7] M Erakovic (NZL) / E Vesnina (RUS) – WTA
G Dimitrov (BUL) vs [Q] R Bautista Agut (ESP) – ATP
[3] A Qureshi (PAK) / J Rojer (NED) vs [WC] Y Lu (TPE) / D Wu (CHN) – ATP

COURT 3 start 12:30 pm
J Husarova (SVK) / O Kalashnikova (GEO) vs V Dushevina (RUS) / A Parra Santonja (ESP) – WTA
[Q] S Fichman (CAN) vs [Q] G Voskoboeva (KAZ) – WTA
[5] A Groenefeld (GER) / K Peschke (CZE) vs S Lisicki (GER) / A Medina Garrigues (ESP) – WTA
[WC] Y Shvedova (KAZ) / S Zhang (CHN) vs [PR] Y Chan (TPE) / J Zheng (CHN) – WTA – After suitable rest

COURT 4 start 12:30 pm
[Q] E Bouchard (CAN) vs M Rybarikova (SVK) – WTA
D Hantuchova (SVK) / L Raymond (USA) vs A Kudryavtseva (RUS) / A Rodionova (AUS) – WTA
K Date-Krumm (JPN) / C Scheepers (RSA) vs [8] C Black (ZIM) / S Mirza (IND) – WTA
[Q] P Hercog (SLO) vs M Puig (PUR) – WTA


A Fan’s Guide to Beijing and the China Open

By Abigail Hinto

BEIJING, China – The week of the China Open is a perfect opportunity and the perfect time to visit Beijing. That is the Golden Week in China, a week-long holiday, when they celebrate their National Day. The infamous Beijing traffic is gone, so it’s easier to get around the city and the weather is just right. The tourist spots will be more crowded though, but you can have your pick and choose where to go. Definitely set aside a day outside the tournament to visit the Great Wall and the Forbidden City. I took a guided tour with www.beijingtourguide.com. For only RMB200, you’re in a small tour van (we were just 5) where you get an English-speaking tour guide to show you around the Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square, a stop at a jade factory where you get your lunch that’s included in the package, a silk factory tour, and of course a hike to a section of the Great Wall. Since we were only five in the group, we were able to decide amongst ourselves to skip the more famous section of the Great Wall (Badaling Wall) and opt for the one without the cable car, the tougher hike, but the lesser crowds, the Ju Yong Guan section.


The China Open is held in the Olympic Park, and it’s quite far from the city. So it’s better to stay at a hotel that’s within the Olympic Park area. The Intercontinental Hotel-Beichen is the official tournament hotel and is right in front of the Olympic Park. If you stay there, you may get a room that has a view of the Bird’s Nest and the Water Cube which are impressive architectural structures and beautifully lighted at night. Just a note, if you book with the Intercontinental for the week of the tournament, make sure they confirm your reservation because they can cancel your reservation for you without any notification because it would be fully-booked for the China Open. From the hotel, it’s a 10-minute taxi ride to the tennis stadium.

Beijing is huge and you’ll never run out of options to see and do. And with the tournament on, there are only so many things you can squeeze in your days. But as they say, do as the Beijingers, when in Beijing, have a Peking Duck at Da Dong Restaurant.

Abigail Hinto was covering the China Open in Beijing for Tennis Panorama News.


Novak Djokovic Gangnam Style


BEIJING, China – After capturing the China Open title, Novak Djokovic thrilled fans with his imitation of the dance from the hit “Gangnam Style” by South Korean rapper Psy.

Djokovic said he did not rehearse the dance and that if he wins next week in Shanghai he might do it.  He was at first a little hesitant to do it but then joined in the fun with the ball boys and ball girls.

“No rehearsals,” Djokovic said.  “The only time I have done it, I think, was a week ago.  The song is quite catchy, so I might do it again in Shanghai.  Depends.

“For next year, we’ll see if ‑‑ I get a lot of feedback from the fans.  So if the fans have something to suggest, I’m open for any suggestions and maybe we can work something out for next time.”

Djokovic later added, “As I said, nothing was planned.  But I was talking to the fans that actually suggested me to do that dance in the end of the tournament in case I win the tournament.

“So I had to hold my promise, and it was fun.  You know, I think it was obvious that I was the worst dancer there out of the small group, but it still was quite a lot of fun.”

The video to “Gangnam Style” (shown above) has gone viral since its release in July 2012 on YouTube where it has been viewed more than 390 million times.

Karen Pestaina, Abigail Hinto and Natalie Ho contributed to this report.


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Djokovic Defeats Tsonga for China Open Title

By Abigail Hinto

BEIJING, China – The player who has broken Jo-Wilfred Tsonga‘s dreams every time, has done it again. Novak Djokovic remains unbeaten at the China Open as he wins his third title here in four years defeating Tsonga 7-6 (4), 6-2.


Tsonga was the better player for most of the first set. He was dictating with his forehand and changing up the pace with his sliced backhand that Djokovic couldn’t get into his usual yo-yo rhythm. But it must be hard to keep your composure and maintain that certain level of play against someone, except for one walk-over win, you’ve lost to five times in the last couple of years.


As Tsonga was asked in his post-loss news conference “Is there an added sense of, I guess, pressure or frustration after the fact when you have played the same guy a few times this year and just haven’t been able to get over the hump?” Tsonga answered, “Yeah, of course there is some frustration, you know. I mean, you work a lot. You give of yourself, and you never get a reward. That’s why sometimes it’s tough.” So in the end, even if Tsonga got the initial break in the first set, and was able to get the two minibreaks back in the tiebreak, he goes for a big second serve down 4-5 in the tiebreak to double fault and eventually lose it 6-7 (4).


So close and yet so far, that Tsonga quickly surrendered a break in the first service game in the second set. With Djokovic much more steady and relaxed now, Tsonga kept pressing only to find his shots go long and wide. Game, set, match Djokovic.


Novak Djokovic hasn’t won a title since Miami and in the interim has lost the No. 1 ranking to Roger Federer. With this win in Beijing and three more big tournaments coming up, Djokovic targets to end the year as strong as he started it and reclaim the title of best player in the world.


“That’s the target, said Djokovic.  This will definitely help me in that race, but it’s still quite open.  There is still tournaments to come, big ones.  Shanghai, obviously the first 1000 event that is next week.  Everybody is playing there except Nadal.

“I want to try to get as far as I can in the tournament, obviously taking one match at a time as I always do. “

Abigail Hinto is in Beijing this week covering the China Open for Tennis Panorama News. Follow her updates on twitter @TennisNewsTPN.

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