Spaniards Rafael Nadal and David Ferrer will kick off their Beijing campaigns on Tuesday. They are set for respective meetings with Santiago Giraldo and Vasek Pospisil.
(3) David Ferrer vs. Vasek Pospisil
Ferrer and Pospisil will be going head-to-head for the third time in their careers when they clash in round one of the China Open on Tuesday. Both of their previous encounters have gone Ferrer’s way; 6-3, 6-3 on the indoor hard courts of Valencia in 2011 and 6-4, 6-4 last summer on grass at the London Olympics. Pospisil has since soared to his current ranking of No. 40 in the world, which is one spot off his career-high. The 23-year-old Canadian reached the semifinals in Montreal, but he endured heartbreaking defeats in Cincinnati, at the U.S. Open, and in Davis Cup. He is also coming off a second-round loss last week in Kuala Lumpur to Federico Delbonis.
Ferrer is a -600 favorite at william hill tennis odds but only -200 to win in straight sets, in part because the Spaniard is not playing his best tennis at the moment. A U.S. Open quarterfinal run was preceded by early losses in Montreal and Cincinnati, and he fell to Joao Sousa in the Kuala Lumpur quarters. However, Sousa has been on fire of late. He reached the St. Petersburg semis and eventually captured the Kuala Lumpur title. Ferrer is still 47-16 for the year, which includes two titles. As their past history suggests, the world No. 4 is a bad matchup for Pospisil thanks to his remarkable return of serve and defensive skills.
Pick: Ferrer in 2
(Q) Santiago Giraldo vs. (2) Rafael Nadal
Giraldo and Nadal will be squaring off for the sixth time in their careers on Tuesday. Nadal is 5-0 lifetime in the overall head-to-head series and 10-0 in sets (only one set has progressed to a tiebreaker). They have faced each other four times on hard courts, including their most recent encounter last year in Miami–where Nadal rolled 6-2, 6-0.
Although Giraldo did well to qualify for the main draw in Beijing, there is no reason to expect his week will continue. The 87th-ranked Colombian is just 15-22 this season and he has not won an ATP main-draw match since Atlanta in mid-July. Nadal, of course, is undefeated on hard courts in 2013–with titles in Indian Wells, Montreal, Cincinnati, and at the U.S. Open. The second-ranked Spaniard is well on his way to the year-end world No. 1 ranking, and likely sooner rather than later. This has a straight-set rout written all over it.
Pick: Nadal in 2 losing 5-6 games