Sveta Celebrate China Win (AP Photo/Elizabeth Dalziel)
Novak Djokovic not only got back to number three in the world this weekend but also claimed his third title of the year in winning the China Open over Marin Cilic 6-2, 7-6 (4).
After 2-2 in the first set, a nearly two hour rain delay paused the match. When play resumed, Djokovic appeared fresher and used his great defensive skills to take the first set.
Cilic rebounded by breaking early in the second set and could have gone up 3-0, but he blew an overhead that would have given him break point. Djokovic held for 1-2. Cilic found success by serving big and coming to net and soon got things to 4-4.
Djokovic seemed to dwell on missed chances causing him to lose serve at 4-5. But Cilic’s backhand errors and low second serve percentage forced another break at 5-5. Djokovic promptly lost serve at 6-5 and Cilic had another chance to serve it out but got tight and double faulted the game away.
In the breaker, Djokovic played an unbelivable point from all sides of the court forcing Cilic to fall on his back but retrieved the ball anyway. Djokovic won the point at net to get to 4-2 and then went on to win the tiebreaker.
In the women’s final, Svetlana Kuznetsova had a few too many weapons in her arsenal as she disposed Agnieska Radwanska 6-2, 6-4 to claim her third title of the year.
And did anyone notice the massive size of the trophies of all the winners at the event this year? Huge would be a understatement.
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I was going to originally call this post “DelPo Pulls a “Safina”, but it would be unfair to compare Juan Martin Del Potro’s early round loss in the Japan Open to Safina’s current misery tour.
Citing jet leg and a mild stomach ailment (and probably a nice “hangover” from celebrating his U.S. Open), Del Potro lost to qualifier Edouard Roger-Vasselin of France 6-4, 6-4.
Although the other top seeds including Gilles Simon and Lleyton Hewitt got through their matches, one has to feel for the tournament organizers after what has been almost a “nightmare” two weeks. First the ladies event is plagued with early round exits by the big names and then a final cut short by Jelena Jankovic’s injury. Now the men’s event, which suffered two withdrawals from top seeds Roger Federer and Andy Murray, loses its top seed early.
But this could be an opportunity for those players like Simon and Jo-Wilifred Tsonga still looking to qualify for the end of the year ATP Series Finale in London.
Lost in the Del Potro news was Andy Roddick’s rather flat showing in the opening round of the China Open. Roddick lost to Polish qualifier Lukasz Kubot 6-2, 6-4.
So with all eyes now pointing to Shanghai to sort out the ATP Finale, who do you think will qualify?