Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal are on course for the 45th installment of the longest rivalry on the ATP tour as the pair advanced to the semi-final of the China Open ATP 500 event in Beijing in contrasting styles. The top ranked Djokovic decimated John Isner 6-2,6-2 in just 52 minutes as he extended his win streak in the Chinese Capital to 27 match wins.
Djokovic who won this trophy in 2009-10 and 2012-14, has already clinched the year ending world number one ranking and next plays the Spaniard David Ferrer who dismissed the wild card from Taipei Yen-Hsun Lu 6-3, 6-1 in 77 minutes. Ferrer will have to play out of his skin as he looks to halt a nine match loosing streak to the Serb.
The third seeded Rafael Nadal of Spain overcame the loss of the first set to the American Jack Sock, ranked 30th in the world as he won 3-6,6-4,6-3 in a little more than two hours. Next up Nadal gets a chance to avenge his shock five set loss at the U.S. Open last month at the hands of the Italian Fabio Fognini who had to battle three sets to end the run of the Uruguyan Pablo Cuevas 6-1,2-6,6-2. Fognini beat Nadal this year in Rio de Janeiro and Barcelona on clay but lost the title match to Spaniard in the final of ATP 500 event in Hamburg.
The semi-final line-up in Beijing with my picks mentioned first is as under with the head to head records :-
Novak Djokovic (1) v. David Ferrer (4) ; Djokovic leads 15-5
Rafael Nadal (3) v. Fabio Fognini (-) ; Nadal leads 5-3
The event in Tokyo too looks set for a dream final match up between the top seeded and French Open champion Stanislas Wawrinka and the local favourite Kei Nishikori as they will take on the unseeded Giles Muller and Benoit Paire respectively respectively in the semi-finals on Saturday. Nishikori was bundled out in the first round of the U.S. Open by the Frenchman ranked 32nd in the world.
In a repeat of the 2014 U S. Open final Nishikori avenged his loss to the Croat Marin Cilic as he rallied after dropping the first set to win 3-6,7-5,6-3. The sixth ranked Nishikori who has won this title twice was backed by a 10,000 strong partisan crowd at the Ariake Colosseum. Paire outlasted the Australian Nick Kyrgios 3-6,6-4,6-1 in 88 minutes.
The fourth ranked Wawrinka remained on course to capture his 11th career title and the fourth in 2015 as he outclassed the American qualifier Austin Krajicek 6-3, 6-4, and next faces the 43rd ranked Giles Muller of Luxembourg who defeated the Frenchman Giles Simon by the same scoreline 6-3,6-4. Simon remains at 14th in the race to London, while Cilic climbs one spot to 12th, overtaking Canada’s Milos Raonic.
The semi-final line-up in Tokyo with my picks mentioned first is as under with the head to head to records :-
Stanislas Wawrinka (1) v. Giles Muller (-) ; Wawrinka leads 2-0
Kei Nishikori (2) v. Benoit Paire (-) ; Nishikori leads 2-1
– Rasesh Mehta [Rasesh Mehta is an analyst with the Tennis Galaxy.You can reach him at the email: firstname.lastname@example.org]