Beijing Day 1 preview: Dimitrov faces Verdasco, Nadal in doubles action

Nadal 2 USOGrigor Dimitrov, Fernando Verdasco, Mikhail Youzhny, and Viktor Troicki will be among those in singles action on Monday in Beijing. Rafael Nadal, meanwhile, is making his return in doubles as he partners fellow Spaniard Pablo Andujar.

Fernando Verdasco vs. (5) Grigor Dimitrov

Verdasco and Dimitrov will be going head-to-head for the second time in their careers when they kick off their China Open campaigns on Monday. Their only previous encounter came last year on the clay courts of Bastad, where Verdasco prevailed 7-6(3), 5-7, 7-5. Dimitrov had started to post some great results at the time, but he is now far more of a consistent performer. The 23-year-old Bulgarian is 41-13 in 2014 and he up to No. 10 in the world, in part thanks to three titles in the last seven months.

At the other end of the spectrum is Verdasco, who is a modest 21-16 for the season and is struggling down at 33rd in the rankings. The Spaniard has not won more than two matches at any tournament since Roland Garros, but at the same time he has not suffered a first-round loss since Wimbledon. Verdasco is coming off a disappointing second-round exit at the U.S. Open, where he fell to Andrey Kuznetsov in five sets. Both men may be somewhat rusty at the start of this one, but Dimitrov is the more confident player and his solid one-handed backhand should hold up well enough against Verdasco’s heavy forehand.

Pick: Dimitrov in 3

Mikhail Youzhny vs. (WC) Viktor Troicki

A rankings plunge appears to have started for Youzhny, who fell nine spots after the U.S. Open (lost in round one after reaching the 2013 quarterfinals) and currently sits at No. 31 in the world. He also has points from a Valencia title to defend later this fall. The 32-year-old Russian is a dreadful 13-18 for the season heading into his seventh career meeting with Troicki. Troicki has won both of their previous hard-court clashes, but the overall head-to-head series stands at 3-3.

Going in the other direction, somewhat inevitably, is Troicki. The Serb missed almost an entire year of tennis due to suspension and he returned in late July at 847th in the world. Fast forward two months and Troicki has already soared to 174th (153rd when the new rankings come out on Monday). The former world No. 12 owns two Challenger titles and is two for two in reaching ATP quarterfinals–including last week in Shenzhen. With many more recent matches under his belt than his opponent, Troicki should be too tough on Monday.

Pick: Troicki in 3

Tomas Berdych and John Isner vs. Pablo Andujar and Rafael Nadal

Nadal will be in action for the first time since Wimbledon when he takes the court for doubles. Having been sidelined for three months due to a wrist injury, Nadal will be partnering Andujar when the two Spaniards face Berdych and Isner in their opener. Nadal and Andujar have a 1-1 lifetime match record together after a second-round showing last summer at the Rogers Cup.

Berdych and Isner teamed up earlier this year in Madrid, where they rolled through their first match before withdrawing. They have opposite records against Nadal: Berdych is 1-0 (2011 Montreal first round) and Isner is 0-1 (2012 Indian Wells final). This duo of borderline giants should be effective; the Czech has plenty of successful doubles experience in Davis Cup and Isner obviously wields a massive serve.

Pick: Berdych/Isner in 3

20 Comments on Beijing Day 1 preview: Dimitrov faces Verdasco, Nadal in doubles action

  1. Tennis TV replied to a few tweets earlier today and said that Rafa’s match won’t be televised. It’s the only Moon Court match they’re not televising. The usual websites are showing the possibility of a stream, but I’m not holding my breath. I’ll try a few once the match starts.

  2. I tried all of the streams that had been available on Moon Court for the WTA match prior to Rafa’s doubles match and they’re all now in screen saver mode. Koenig was announcing the WTA match and said they’d be back on the air after the doubles match, so I guess there’s no broadcast anywhere. Weird.

  3. The match was close and I think Rafa got what he wanted out of it. Now he can concentrate on his tough single’s draw.

    There are usually no cameras at doubles matches so even if TennisTV wanted to show it they couldn’t.

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