By Ros Satar
- ATP – Novak Djokovic remains at No. 1 as he reigns supreme once more in Beijing
- WTA – Serena Williams remains at No. 1 as the race is on to snap up places in the WTA Finals in Singapore
- Andy Murray moves up to World No. 2, Johanna Konta moves up to No. 47 – Both in action this week
Novak Djokovic looked in imperious form as the men’s tour swings through Asia with a staggering 29th straight win in Beijing.
Tennis: Full Draws and Schedules
Djokovic took to the court for the first time since defeating Roger Federer at the US Open, and throughout the tournament was in dominant form, not dropping a set throughout and steaming past Rafael Nadal in straight sets 6-2 6-2 in 91 minutes.
“The score-line, especially in the first set, doesn’t indicate the real battle that we had on the court,” said Djokovic after the match. “I’m aware of the fact that very few points can decide a winner of the matches I play against the biggest rivals, and Rafa is definitely one of them. He’s the kind of player that is a champion and understands the kind of challenge that a big match presents. He knows how to play on the big stage for the titles. He has won so many.
“That’s why I didn’t want to give him an opportunity to come back to the match and eventually start playing better to dominate the rallies… This positive week definitely encourages me and gives me a lot of confidence for Shanghai.”
Nadal looked sluggish at times against Djokovic, who took full advantage while Nadal struggled to take his chances. But the news was not all bad for the Spaniard, making his return to the tour since exiting the US Open in the third round, and via the Davis Cup. His run to the final puts him sixth in the race to make the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals.
“I’m very happy the way that I played this week, especially because I was able to improve every single match,” said Nadal to ATP.com. “Especially in the quarter-finals after that first set against Sock, I changed that dynamic. I played closer to the baseline. Yesterday I played a good match and today I played a good match.”
Andy Murray moves up to World No. 2 but with all the big names lining up in Shanghai, the pressure will be on to make his mark as the thorny subject of the O2 and the Davis Cup final still swirls around. While the Brit hoped to be able to skip the season-ending finale to concentrate of Team GB’s efforts to win the Davis Cup final, Executive chairman of the ATP Chris Kermode ATP & WTA Rankings – 12 Octobermade it very clear he expected Murray to be present and correct.
Stan Wawrinka picked up the Tokyo title in a final against friend Benoit Paire at the weekend, and remains at World No. 4.
ATP Rankings – 12 October
- Novak Djokovic
- Andy Murray (+1)
- Roger Federer
- Stan Wawrinka
- Thomas Berdych
- Kei Nishikori
- Rafael Nadal (+1)
- David Ferrer (-1)
- Milos Raonic
- Kevin Anderson (+2)
- Richard Gasquet
- Marin Cilic (+2)
- John Isner
- Gilles Simon (-4)
- Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (+1)
- David Goffin (+1)
- Feliciano Lopez (-2)
- Dominic Thiem (+1)
- Gael Monfils (+4)
- Bernard Tomic
With World No. 1 Serena Williams calling time on her season including the WTA Finals at the end of this month, the race is on for players further down the order to get over all those end of season injury niggles to secure their places in the Singapore line-up.
Wimbledon finalist Garbiñe Muguruza fought her way past Timea Bacsinszky to claim her biggest title of her career at the Premier Mandatory China Open in Beijing, and sits at World No. 4 this week.
The Swiss had a great run to the final, and snapped a four match first-round losing streak since making it to the quarter-finals at Wimbledon, and hits the Top 10 for the first time in her career.
Muguruza said, after the match: “I want to congratulate Timea of course – Top 10 is an amazing achievement.
“For me, to be able to come and win the tournament after losing in the finals of Wuhan last week is a great achievement. It’s amazing, and I can’t wait to come back and defend my title next year.”
Bacsinszky charmed the crowds with an emotional speech, having even considered leaving the sport just a short time ago.
“I actually want to dedicate this tournament to someone. I came from really, really far away, I almost retired two years ago, and this man over there, my coach, Dimitri, thank you for helping me every day. You brought Stanislas [Wawrinka] to Top 10, and now you’ve brought me to Top 10. Thank you for every day.”
Both top Brits are in action this week, as British No. 1 Johanna Konta unfortunately failed to advance in the Linz qualification final round, while Heather Watson is in the main draw of Hong Kong. Konta rises two places to No. 47 this week, and Watson is up one to No. 61.
WTA Rankings – 12 October
- Serena Williams
- Simona Halep
- Maria Sharapova
- Garbiñe Muguruza (+1)
- Petra Kvitova (-1)
- Agnieszka Radwanska (+2)
- Lucie Safarova (-1)
- Flavia Pennetta (-1)
- Angelique Kerber (+1)
- Timea Bacsinszky (+7)
- Caroline Wozniacki
- Ana Ivanovic (+3)
- Carla Suárez Navarro (-1)
- Venus Williams
- Karolina Pliskova (-6)
- Belinda Bencic (-3)
- Roberta Vinci (-1)
- Sara Errani (+2)
- Madison Keys
- Andrea Petkovic (+1)
ATP Shanghai Masters
Top Seeds: Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer, Andy Murray, Stan Wawrinka
Defending champion: Federer
Djokovic is looking very sharp as Federer and Murray return to the tour after Davis Cup duty and the US Open, and with Murray leapfrogging Federer for the World No. 2 spot this week in the rankings, it will be interesting to see how the draw pans out with Murray in Djokovic’s half of the draw and scheduled to meet in the semi-finals, while the Swiss could face either Wawrinka or Nadal in the semis.
Top Seeds: Lucie Safarova, Caroline Wozniacki, Roberta Vinci, Andrea Petkovic
2014 Champion: Karolina Pliskova
It’s a welcome return to the tour for Safarova who was laid low with a bacterial infection after hitting a career high of No. 5 after the US Open. It was serious enough to hospitalise her and forced her out of the Asian swing altogether but she comes in to Linz as the top seed on a wildcard.
British interest sits with Konta, who fell in the final round of qualifying but is in the doubles with Naomi Broady who was edged out in her qualifying opener.
WTA Hong Kong
Top Seeds: Angelique Kerber, Venus Williams, Jelena Jankovic, Samantha Stosur
2014 Champion: Sabine Lisicki
With Williams on the periphery of the Road to Singapore (No. 11) and with a win in Wuhan tucked in her belt, she will be looking for a solid performance and to put her opener in Beijing firmly behind her as she dropped to Ana Ivanovic. With Muguruza’s withdrawal after she claimed the Beijing title, Williams occupies the head of the draw and British eyes will be on Watson as she looks to regain some ground after surrendering her No. 1 spot to Konta.
Top Seeds: Flavia Pennetta, Agnieszka Radwanska, Karolina Pliskova, Elina Svitolina
2014 Champion: Alison Riske
US Open champion Pennetta comes in as the top seed on a wildcard, with Linz champion Pliskova passing up the chance to defend her title in Europe to do battle here as the third seed.
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