Tommy Haas and Lleyton Hewitt will collide in a blockbuster first-round matchup on Monday in Beijing. Tommy Robredo and Fabio Fognini are also in action.
(7) Tommy Haas vs. (WC) Lleyton Hewitt
The clock will be turned back when Haas and Hewitt do battle in round one of the China Open on Monday. This is their 11th career meeting but first in more than nine years–since the 2004 U.S. Open. Hewitt leads the head-to-head series 6-4 overall and 2-1 on hard courts. The 32-year-old Australian has won four of his last five matches, which include a fourth-round showing in New York and a Davis Cup rout of Lukasz Kubot. Hewitt is 23-15 for the season and on the way back up at No. 57 in the world as of Sunday.
Haas has been in the midst of an even greater resurgence for a longer period of time. The 35-year-old German is 41-18 for his 2013 campaign, highlighted by a title in Munich and a quarterfinal finish at Roland Garros. Haas cooled off just a bit late this summer and lost to Mikhail Youzhny in the U.S. Open third round (Youzhny went on to beat Hewitt 7-5 in the fifth). With Haas not quite as confident as he was a few months ago and Hewitt almost always being a force on relatively fast surfaces, a slight upset could be in the cards.
Pick: Hewitt in 3
Fabio Fognini vs. Tommy Robredo
Fognini and Robredo will be squaring off for the fifth time in their careers and for the second time this season on Monday in Beijing. Robredo leads the head-to-head series 4-1 after dominating their most recent encounter 6-0, 6-3 in a clay-court final at the Umag tournament. Fognini’s lone victory over Robredo came via third-set retirement on the indoor hard courts of Vienna in 2011.
Like Haas and Hewitt, Robredo is a veteran back on the rise right now. The 31-year-old Spaniard is 35-18 for the season and up to No. 18 in the world. He made thrilling runs to the quarterfinals at both the French Open and U.S. Open. Fognini caught fire in July by reaching three consecutive clay-court finals, a pair of which he won for the first two titles of his career. The 19th-ranked Italian, however, is a dreadful 5-10 on hard courts this year. Thanks mostly to the surface, this should be one-way traffic.
Pick: Robredo in 2