With the China Open starting today for the ATP players, let’s take a quick look at what’s at stake for the top players.
Rafael Nadal is the top seed here and probably the favorite depending on how he holds up physically. He’s had a good break since the U.S. Open and not playing in Davis Cup certainly added to his recovery time.
Nadal’s side of the draw could be tricky as he could face James Blake in an early match and then Fernando Gonzalez in the quarters. His biggest test could be #4 seed Nikolay Daveydenko, fresh off getting his third title win of the year at Kuala Lumpur, in the semis.
Watch out for Marin Cilic who got a wildcard into the draw. He’s playing with a lot of confidence and could sneak a few upsets in.
In the other half of the draw is #2 seed Novak Djokovic. Djokovic is coming into the Asia swing of the tour after enduring criticism all year that he’s not living up to his true potential.
His draw should be easy going although he could face red-hot Victor Troicki early on and then possibly Fernando Verdasco in the quarters. My feeling is Djokovic will play as well as he feels like and could bow out early if his mind isn’t all there.
And there’s the #3 seed Andy Roddick. The event’s defending champion, Roddick could certainly use a repeat win here to get over his sub-par summer and losing early at the U.S. Open. Roddick’s got a fairly easy draw until he may have to face Robin Soderling in the quarters. Soderling is 2-0 against Roddick, but they haven’t played in over a year so anything could happen. If Roddick can squeeze past Soderling, I like his chances against possibly Djokovic in the semis.
So who will win? I’m looking for a Nadal/Roddick final which could be a treat, with Roddick winning in three tough sets.
P.S. Yes, I know the WTA ladies are playing at the same time, but to give predictions on that side would be futile considering all the wacky play going on. I’ll go on a limb and pick Elena Dementieva to win it all.