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