Beijing R2 previews and picks: Nadal vs. Kohlschreiber, Fognini vs. Hewitt

Rafael Nadal will continue his Beijing campaign on Wednesday against familiar foe Philipp Kohlschreiber. Fabio Fognini and Lleyton Hewitt are also looking for a spot in the quarterfinals.

Philipp Kohlschreiber vs. (2) Rafael Nadal

Kohlschreiber and Nadal will be squaring off for the 12th time in their careers at the ATP level and for the third time this season when they clash in round two of the China Open on Wednesday night. They just faced each other in the last 16 at the U.S. Open, where Nadal bounced back from a set deficit to prevail 6-7(4), 6-4, 6-3, 6-1. The Spaniard dominated their clay-court encounter in Monte-Carlo 6-2, 6-4. Nadal is 6-0 against Kohlschreiber on hard courts. The German’s lone victory in the series came via a 6-3, 6-4 decision last summer on the grass courts of Halle.

Nadal opened on Tuesday in Beijing with a 6-2, 6-4 victory over Santiago Giraldo. The world No. 2 is now 62-3 for the year and undefeated on hard courts. Kohlschreiber survived against Albert Montanes 7-5, 1-6, 7-6(4) on Monday. The 25th-ranked German is 28-20 for the season, which includes three runner-up finishes and two fourth-round showings at Grand Slams. Nadal was not in peak form against Giraldo and while he should improve in this one, it is still early in the tournament when the second seed may not be at his mental or physical best.

Pick: Nadal in 2 losing more than eight games

(WC) Lleyton Hewitt vs. Fabio Fognini

While many of Hewitt’s contemporaries are going by the wayside (Fernando Gonzalez, Ivan Ljubicic, James Blake, and David Nalbandian to name just some), the 32-year-old Australian is turning back the clock. He is 24-15 for his 2013 campaign and back up to No. 59 in the world following a recent fourth-round finish at the U.S. Open. Hewitt dismissed 35-year-old Tommy Haas 7-6(6), 6-3 on Monday in Beijing.

Up next for the two-time major champion is a first-ever meeting with Fognini. The 19th-ranked Italian is also playing stellar tennis this season, but he remains inconsistent at best outside of clay. Fognini is 6-10 on the hard courts this year after scoring an impressive 7-5, 4-6, 6-3 win over Tommy Robredo in the first round. Can Fognini remain focused against the quintessential no-nonsense opponent on Wednesday? The chances of him doing so are slim.

Pick: Hewitt in 2

72 Comments on Beijing R2 previews and picks: Nadal vs. Kohlschreiber, Fognini vs. Hewitt

  1. Vamos Rafa, 2 more matches to #1!

    Well done Ricky, you got the number of sets right, never mind the games margins………

    Who does Rafa play next, the Fog?

  2. Rafa-watch:

    RT @ATPWorldTour: “@RafaelNadal two wins from reclaiming World No. 1 after d. #Kohlschreiber 64 76(3) at #ChinaOpen.

  3. so it’s rafa vs. foggy bottom on friday. Will fog retire down 1-6 1-6 0-40? will he tank? will he crush rafa? never know what to expect with the Fog…

  4. Kohlbi kept Rafa on the back foot for far too much of that match and took time away from him not letting him get any rhythm.

    Mustn’t grumble. Rafa negotiated his way through a tricky match.

    Luckily NNY was asleep!

  5. RT @bgtennisnation: “Rafa now and amazing 63-3 on the year after once again toughing out Kohly in 2 tight sets in the 2nd rd in Beijing”

  6. Another solid match from Kohls, just not quite good enough. Kohl’s angled/CC backhand is a very effective weapon. Rafa’s serve still isn’t up to par. I noticed a few times when Rafa was prepping for his serve and he leaned on his left leg, that he seemed to be off balance. It may be nothing, but I wonder if his knee is troubling him just enough to affect his serve. The stream of this match kept pixelating and freezing, so I actually missed seeing some crucial points. ESPN3 will be streaming the next round, so I’m thankful for that.

  7. It’s official, Rafa’s exploits have exceeded his clay exploits this year:

    RT @SharkoTennis: “.@RafaelNadal 24-0 on hard cts this yr after 64 76 win over #PhilippKohlschreiber @ChinaOpenTennis. Also won 23 in a row on clay.”

  8. I appreciate seeing that video of the tiebreak. Those last three shots were brilliant!

    Well done to Rafa for getting the win in two tight sets!

    At least starting tomorrow, I will finally get to see a match.

  9. rafa is the only player of this current generation of tennis players to hold winning streaks of more than 20 matches in a single season ! 24 on HC , 23 on clay… I am not sure about anyone holding it in the past so i’l have to check that out… federer has never been able to do it as grass season is not long enough and on clay he has always been at rafa’s mercy…novak too has not been able to win more than 15 straight on clay ( 2011)…

      • Ricky, I am talking of holding 20+ streaks on multiple surfaces in ONE season !

        Fed’s longest streak on hard courts (inc indoor+outdoor) in 2005 : 39
        Fed’s longest streak on clay courts in 2005: 10
        Fed’s longest streak on grass in 2005: 12

        FEd’s longest streak on hard in 2006: 29
        FEd’s longest streak on clay in 2006 :6
        Fed’s longest streak on grass in 2006:12

        Fed’s longest streak on hard in 2007: 18
        fed’s longest streak on clay in 2007 : 11
        fed’s longest streak on grass in 2007 :7

        So other than hard courts, he has not come close to 20+ on any other surface 🙂

        • oh on multiple surfaces, yep.

          not surprising. not enough grass-court tournaments for Federer to do it. Djokovic not good enough on clay to do it.

      • See below for djokovic’s streaks

        djokovic’s highest on hard courts 2011: 33
        djokovic’s highest on clay in 2011 : 18
        djokovic’s highest on grass in 2011 : 7

        * Novak won 18 straight on clay in 2011, NOT 15 (correction to my previous post)
        * Novak was not able to pile up any 20+ streaks on any surface in any season other than 2011

    • @vamosrafa, which rudely contradicts the notion that Rafa is not a complete tennis player, or that he is a lesser complete player than Fed or Novak.

      Rafa is a more rounded player……FACT.

  10. NNY, yup ! huggeee finish from rafa in the tie break…really impressed with his ROS and the aggressive mindset…this is an ever better start than it was in montreal (where I believe he played superb aggressive tennins)

    • Tomorrow I can actually see some tennis. I noticed in the program listings for the tennis channel that they will be showing the Japan round of 16 matches starting at 7:00 pm tonight my time. They will be showing it into the wee hours of the morning.

      Then tomorrow at 11:00 am my time, they will start showing Beijing matches. I think it’s going to be tape delayed. As long as I get to see something!

  11. I think Rafa will be a bit nervous and tight in his next 2 matches as he inches closer to the No 1. It is normal, it is a huge milestone for him to be back to No 1, feeling tightness will be natural esp in semi match against Berdy as that match will be clincher for No 1. Berdy may notch a win finally over him due to this 🙂

    Though I hope Rafa gets No 1 here itself in Beijing as Shanghai, Paris, WTF are bigger turneys and he can play freely there.

    • I am tight myself, just thinking about the awesomeness of it all! This was supposed to be a transition year for Rafa and look what the boy has done/is doing!

      I just want him to reach the final and get that #1 back. I don’t mind if he ends up losing to Novak in the final, he will not be walking away empty handed………

      I want him to WIN Shanghai, Paris and WTF although I have a sneaky feeling he will play Basel and skip Paris.

      Uncle Toni said, before Rafa left for Asia, the goal is to get #1 and win WTF. I will be happy with that.

      • I somehow have a feeling Rafa will win WTF this year. Maybe my desire is weighing heavily on my feeling but I think he will go all the way in WTF.

      • wish list is 1 more Masters (so that he hasthe lone record of 6 Masters in a year) and WTF. I will be happy with that.

    • Sanju@October 3, 2013 at 5:22 am
      —Though I hope Rafa gets No 1 here itself in Beijing as Shanghai, Paris, WTF are bigger turneys and he can play freely there.—

      Rafa can’t play too freely. If Djoko wins the title in Shanghai & Paris & London, Rafa has to earn more points than Djoko can add in Paris.

      • If Rafa gets #1 in Beijing, Novak can win Beijing, Shanghai, Paris, WTF, it does not matter. All Rafa has to do is get 1500 points from Shanghai, Paris, Basel and WTF to seal the deal. Knowing Rafa, he will not be going just for 1500 points, he will be going for wins at each tourny he enters!

        2 more matches and Rafa’s there………….

      • Yes thats 1000 – 1200 from over 4000 points up (1000 Shanghai, Pris 1000, Basel 500, WTF 1500) for grabs..I think he can do that much.

      • Also by freely I mean without pressure. If he plays freely, he will play well and rake up more points.

        Rafa has to have a healthy lead of atleast 3000 points over Novak post AO 14 because no way will he defend everything he has won this year, he will lose some. Hence raking up good points in this fall as well as in AO & Wimby is MUST

  12. I would not be sorry if Rafa were to choose Basel over Paris. Bercy is the one tournament I really don’t enjoy at the best of times. Players already confirmed for WTF are ‘boxing and coxing’ to leave Paris asap and those fighting for the final places play ‘do or die’ tennis.

    • ^^^It doesn’t help that the Paris finalists will still be playing while the WTF begins in London! Not well scheduled at all. I hope Rafa skips Paris and gets some well earned rest before WTF………

      • In 2014, the life of players confirmed for WTF before Paris, will be easier. Next year there will be a one week break between the Paris Masters and the WTF (the WTF will begin a week later than this year).

  13. @Sanju @ 7:45 am, like you, I also want him to beat Djoker’s 2011 record of 5 Masters in a year. I hope he wins Shanghai and WTF and skips Paris this year so he is fresh for WTF. He can then focus on Miami and Paris next year to complete his haul of Masters, something Djoker also has in his sights with only Cincy missing.

    Of course, if he wins Shanghai, Paris and WTF this year I will not be upset!

    • ^^^^^Loved Rafa’s response to the tortuous multi-part question. Why do so many journalists do this, particularly to players for whom English is not their mother tongue?

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