Bernard Tomic claim Chengdu Open; Aryna Sabalenka wins Wuhan Open:
It’s full speed ahead on the Asia swing. October begins with a major women’s event, the China Open, and two mid-level men’s tournaments, in Beijing and Tokyo. If it’s anything like last week—which featured a title run by Bernard Tomic, of all people—you can confidently expect the unexpected.
China Open (WTA)
$8,285,274; Premier Mandatory
You only have to look at the China Open’s total purse to understand why the tours make their yearly expedition to the other side of the tennis world—$8.3 million is a sizable chunk of change for a 64 draw. Even if Beijing weren’t one of the WTA’s four mandatory events, it would be difficult to pass up.
Most of the tour’s elite are present and accounted for, with a couple of significant exceptions. Serena Williams didn’t make the trip, and Simona Halep probably wishes she hadn’t. The back injury she suffered last week in Wuhan returned during her opening-round match, forcing her to retire after one set against Ons Jabeur. Petra Kvitova and Elina Svitolina are also out, to Daria Gavrilova and Aleksandra Krunic, respectively. Judging by the seed carnage we saw in Wuhan, those won’t be the only October surprises we see this week.
All eyes on: Naomi Osaka and Aryna Sabalenka. These two 20-year-old sensations may suddenly be the biggest draws in women’s tennis. Osaka, winner of the US Open, won her first round against Zarina Diyas; Sabalenka, winner in Wuhan, will face Garbine Muguruza.
Highlights from the China Open so far:
China Open (ATP)
$3,401,860; 500 ranking points
When it comes to prize money and ranking points, the men’s side of Beijing isn’t quite as big a deal as the women’s. But it has typically attracted a top-line ATP player—Rafael Nadal is the defending champion, and Novak Djokovic dominated the event in previous years. But neither Rafa or Nole are in the draw this time. Instead, Juan Martin del Potro and Alexander Zverev are the top two seeds, followed by Grigor Dimitrov, Fabio Fognini, Kyle Edmund and Jack Sock.
Ankle injury forces Andy Murray to end his 2018 season early:
Rakuten Japan Open (ATP)
$1,781,930; 500 ranking points
Another ATP 500, another solid men’s draw. While Tokyo can’t match Beijing’s star power at the top—Marin Cilic and Kevin Anderson are the No. 1 and 2 seeds, and an unseeded Stan Wawrinka is looming—this tournament does have youth appeal. Nick Kyrgios, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Denis Shapovalov, Taylor Fritz, Alex de Minaur, Frances Tiafoe, Maximilian Marterer and Yoshihito Nishioka, who won in Shenzhen last week, are all here.
First-round matches to watch: Wawrinka vs. Fritz, Kyrgios vs. Nishioka and Marterer vs. Tiafoe
ATP Beijing & Tokyo (Sep. 30-Oct. 7)
- Tennis Channel PLUS has every ATP match live, from the first round to the final. Watch up to three courts from Beijing and two from Tokyo.