Welcome to Tennis Elbow, the column that looks back on the week that was in the world of tennis. This week, Charles Blouin-Gascon previews the 2017 Beijing Open.
Welcome to China for, really, quite the tournament.
Indeed, every year while us tennis fans in North America take a few days to finally gasp for air after finishing the sprint leading up to the US Open, well the rest of the tennis world just keeps on keeping on.
This week everyone’s in Beijing, the Chinese capital, for the 2017 edition of the appropriately named China Open. The event, if you didn’t know already, is both major and minor at once: you see, it’s a combined tournament and is classified as Premier Mandatory for the WTA but only a Masters 500 for men. The end result is a stacked, 64-person draw on the women’s side, but also rather slim pickings for the ATP.
On that note, let’s run through the two main singles draws and see if we can’t figure out what might happen. You’ll forgive us because, due to the time difference, by the time you read this all these predictions could be proven to have been entirely wrong… but oh well.
More or less all of the first round matches have been played on the women’s side as we’re making our choices, so we have this going for us, but this doesn’t make it any easier. Like, this is a pretty tough draw to predict.
The top section profiles as Garbine Muguruza’s to lose, presumably, but something tells us that Petra Kvitova might have a thing or two to say about it. The Czech beat the Spaniard in their previous encounter in Flushing Meadows, and we envision the same happening again. Elina Svitolina and, in a bit of a surprise, Caroline Garcia will emerge from the second section. The other two quarterfinals should be a star-studded affair, with a Grand Slam winner (Jelena Ostapenko), a couple of other major finalists (Simona Halep, Agieszka Radwanska) and Karolina Pliskova (Karolina Pliskova).
Quarterfinals: Petra Kvitova over Garbine Muguruza; Elina Svitolina over Caroline Garcia; Jelena Ostapenko over Karolina Pliskova; Simona Halep over Agnieszka Radwanska
Semifinals: Elina Svitolina over Petra Kvitova; Simona Halep over Jelena Ostapenko
Final: Elina Svitolina over Simona Halep
This shouldn’t be too difficult, right? We get to identify the eight players we feel will be left standing, and we’re only dealing with a 32-person draw? Easy breezy? No, never underestimate our ability to underwhelm with our predictions here. Just because it’s easy doesn’t mean we won’t make it difficult…
But Rafael Nadal, who is the first seed in Beijing, tends to make things fairly simple. We’ll pick him to make a run all the way to the final, where he’ll battle it out against bad boy Nick Kyrgios. And because you don’t win big if you don’t risk big, let’s go ahead and run with the Australian.
Quarterfinals: Rafael Nadal over John Isner; Juan Martin del Potro over Roberto Bautista Agut; Nick Kyrgios over Fernando Verdasco; Jack Sock over Alexander Zverev
Semifinals: Rafael Nadal over Juan Martin del Potro; Nick Kyrgios over Jack Sock
Final: Nick Kyrgios over Rafael Nadal
Follow Charles Blouin-Gascon on Twitter @RealCBG