World No. 15, Marin Cilic, steamrolled Rafael Nadal in Beijing, winning 6-1, 6-3. Here’s an interesting post-match comment from Rafa:
“I can accept to win and I can accept to lose but mentally probably I wasn’t there. If you’re losing 6-1, 6-3 then there’s something wrong.”
It is very rare for Rafa not to be “there” in a match and even rarer for him to admit it. But with Shanghai coming up next week, he may welcome the extra day or two of rest.
Cilic, who shocked tournament favorite Andy Murray at the US Open this year, said today’s key was confidence:
“From the beginning of the match to end I didn’t let my level of play drop. With more confidence and not giving him too much time to adjust. And I was aggressive when I had to be. In the second set when he came back the match wasn’t easy but I think I kept with what I did in the first set and the best thing was that I didn’t back off and I was just stubborn with my style of play.”
Marin will play Novak Djokovic for the title, after Nole beat Robin Soderling 6-3, 6-3 in the other semi. There was more on the line for Nole than a place in the finals. Today’s win also puts him back at No. 3, a spot he lost to Murray in May of this year. He’s happy to be back:
“I’m very pleased obviously (with retaking No. 3). You know I’ve been No.3 for a while and Murray played well last eight months and got 2nd in the world. What makes best for me is that I deserve it. For this sport it’s always best to have players switching spots at the top- makes it interesting and gives crowd something to cheer about.”
Novak Djokovic has beaten Cilic all three times they’ve played.
Agnieszka Radwanska is back in the top 10 after beating Marion Bartoli in the women’s semis, and will face Svetlana Kuznetsova (who beat Petrova) in the China Open final.
Sveta leads their head-to-head, 5-3.
In cool doubles news from the China Open, the home crowd had something to cheer about as the Chinese team of Peng Shuai and Hsieh Su-Wei beat Alla Kudryavtseva and Ekaterina Makarova in the women’s doubles final. Awesome trophy, China Open! I’m voting it best non-slam trophy of the year (It’s right up there with Queen’s Club, which never changes, anyway.)
Andy Roddick and his partner, Mark Knowles, beat Dlouhy/Kohlschreiber in the men’s doubles semi-finals (4-6, 6-4, 10-7) and will take on the Bryan Brothers for the title. Nice to see Andy Roddick making the most of his time in Beijing. Love the photo above because you can read Andy Roddick’s thoughts: “Dude, it’s just doubles.”
In Tokyo, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga will play Mikhail Youzhny in the final of the Japan Open. Tsonga leads the head-to-head 1-0 and is looking to become the third French player to win an ATP title in as many weeks (Monfils won Metz and Simon won Bangkok.) Now will on of the French guys step it up next year and win a Major already? That mean’s you, Jo-Willy.
All photos by OSportsAgency.