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Guest Blog

Asian Prelims to Annual Close-out

China, Japan Open Action


October 04, 2011 | 09:41 PM

Moving on in the 500 Japan Open event, Rafa will face Raonic in the round of 16 tomorrow. Six months ago, this was an exciting match-up, but after Raonic floundered on clay and struggled with injuries all summer, he's probably lucky to have survived his 1st round against Japanese qualifier Sugita (ranked #175), 6-7 (4), 6-3, 7-6 (1).

A more important match tomorrow will be #4 seed Fish v Gulbis. At #6 in The Race, Mardy has a chance to qualify for his first ever Masters final if he can keep on winning points, but his lead over those from #9 to #11 is less than 650 points.

- Murray, the winner last week in Thailand, faces Baghdatis in a 1st round match; the winner will play Bogomolov

- Bernard Tomic, after upsetting #5 seed Troicki, faces Japanese WC Ito for a chance to met Fish in the quarters

- #6 seed Tipsarevic faces Tursunov

In the China Open:

MEN

#3 seed Berdych v Kohlschreiber. The German can be a tough opponent, and has a win over Berdych on hard courts 2 years ago in Montreal. The Czech is 8th in the Race to London, and can't afford to lose the opportunity to win points (the number of points to be gained in a 500 don't mean much to someone in his position unless he makes the semis, which is worth 180; he'll have only one more 500 opportunity this year along with the two 1000's, Shanghai and Paris).

Gilles Simon, the 5th seed, lost the opportunity today to win points he'll need to move toward to the top 8 from #10, going down to Granollers 6-3, 6-1.

Ditto for #4 seed Almagro who lost 6-3, 6-2 to nemesis Youzhny. He trails Simon at #11 in The Race.

In other action:

- #1 seed Tsonga toughed out a win over Dmitrov 7-6 (5), 7-5

- Ferrero beat Bellucci 6-1, 7-6 (4)

WOMEN

The women's match of the day will be between #8 Bartoli and #9 Petkovic, vying for the 8th spot. The German has won 2 of 3 from Marion this year including one straight set win on hard courts.

In other action, Ana Ivanovic plays #3 seed Zvonareva. The way the Russian has been playing, this is a good opportunity for Ana to gain confidence with a win over a top 10 player. She almost upset Vera in August in Carlsbad, losing 5-7- 6-4, 6-4. Her only win this year over a top 10 player came in March when she beat Jankovic, then #6 but now #13.

Victoria Azarenka (#2 seed) will face the 20 year old, 6 foot Polona Hercoq from Slovenia. At #35, she is an up and comer with half a dozen wins over higher ranked players this year. Vickie hasn't beaten a top 10 player since March and has 9 losses to lower players, not counting Sharapova.

10.4.11


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