Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : October 11th 2015 Contents A48
Sunday Guardian www.guardian.co tt October 11, 2015
BEIJING---Novak Djokovic and
Rafael Nadal will renew their
long rivalry in the China Open
final today after both won their
semifinals in straight sets.
The top-ranked Djokovic
improved his perfect record at
the tournament to 28-0 with a
6-2, 6-3 victory over David Ferrer
of Spain, while Nadal defeated
Italy s Fabio Fognini 7-5, 6-3.
Nadal leads their head-to-head
23-21, but hasn t beaten Djokovic
since the French Open final last
Djokovic dropped his serve for
the first time this week, but broke
the fourth-seeded Ferrer six times
to close out the match in 74 min-
He has now won 25 straight
sets at the China Open and will
be vying for his sixth title in six
attempts on Sunday.
The third-seeded Nadal
reached his first hard-court final
in more than a year. The
Spaniard s previous hard-court
final was at the Sony Open in
Miami in March 2014 and he last
won a hard-court tournament
two months before that in Doha,
"For me, (to) be in the final is
a great event. Very happy with
that result," Nadal said. "The goal
for me is try to find a good level
at this end of the season."
Nadal and Fognini each
dropped serve twice in the open-
ing set before the Spaniard got
the decisive break to capture the
set with Fognini serving at 5-6.
Then, in the sixth game of the
second set, Fognini sent a back-
hand long to give Nadal another
break and a 4-2 lead, which the
Spaniard did not relinquish.
Fognini had beaten Nadal three
times this year, including in the
third round of the U.S. Open last
month. He was trying to join
Novak Djokovic as the only other
player to beat Nadal more than
three times in a single season.
Djokovic beat Nadal six times in
"I know today Novak is not my
league, is a different level of me
this year," Nadal said. "Tomorrow
is a match to try to enjoy and try
to play the way that I want to
play, and we ll see."
In women s play, Switzerland s
Timea Bacsinszky defeated Ana
Ivanovic 5-7, 6-4, 6-1 to reach
the final. With the result, she s
now assured of making the top
10 for the first time in her career.
"I never thought to be able to
reach it," Bacsinszky said. "I m
just super proud. I think I m not
realizing it right now, to be honest,
because I m still playing the tour-
nament. There s a huge match
also tomorrow to play."
Bacsinszky will play Garbine
Muguruza in the final after the
Spaniard defeated Agnieszka Rad-
wanska of Poland 4-6, 6-3, 6-4.
Regardless of the outcome,
Muguruza will move from No 5
to a new career-high No 4 in the
rankings tomorrow. The Wimble-
don finalist has beaten Bacsinszky
in both of their previous meetings.
Nadal, Djokovic to
renew rivalry in
final of China Open
TOKYO---Unseeded Benoit Paire
of France beat defending cham-
pion Kei Nishikori 1-6, 6-4, 6-2
yesterday to advance to the Japan
Open final where he faces top-
seeded Stan Wawrinka.
After breezing through the open-
er when he broke Paire twice,
Nishikori struggled in the second
set and failed to convert any of his
five break points. Paire won the set
with a powerful backhand winner
down the line to break the second-
seeded Nishikori, who was bidding
for his third Japan Open title.
"I beat myself and that s why I
lost," Nishikori said. "I made some
basic mistakes. If I had been
aggressive the way I was in the first
set, the result of the match would
have been different."
Paire, who had 11 aces and saved
seven of nine break points, raced
ahead 4-1 in the third set and
secured the win on his first match
point when Nishikori hit a lob long.
"In the third set, it was different.
I was playing very well, aggressively
and serving well," Paire said. I think
I was better in the third set."
Paire, who captured his first ATP
title at Bastad in July, also beat
Nishikori in the US Open first
round this year.
French Open winner Wawrinka
had eight aces to beat Gilles Muller
6-4, 7-6 (5).
The Swiss reached his fourth
final of the year when Muller angled
his backhand volley wide in the
In today s final, Wawrinka will
be looking to add to his wins at
Chennai, Rotterdam and Roland
HONG KONG---Venus Williams
comes to Hong Kong hoping she can
get a ticket to Singapore.
Williams enters the Hong Kong
Open knowing that a strong showing
here can put her name back where it
used to be a mainstay --- the season-
ending WTA finals for the world s
"This is it," Williams said yesterday.
"This is my last tournament before
the season-ending championship and
my last chance to do well. Hopefully
I can enter the top seven or eight (in
the world). It is not going to be easy
as there is a strong field in Hong Kong."
The WTA finals feature the top eight
players in the Race to Singapore rank-
ings based on this year s results, a list
where the 35-year-old Williams is
currently 11th. And since sister Serena
is sitting out the remainder of the
year, she only has to make up two
places to qualify.
Williams missed out on valuable
points when she was eliminated in
the second round of the China Open
by Ana Ivanovic this week, but won
the Wuhan Open the week before that
for her 47th WTA singles title.
"I don t know if this is a comeback
or a come-up, I just want to win
matches and tournaments," she said.
The Hong Kong field includes two
other players expecting to be in Sin-
gapore in Angelique Kerber of Ger-
many and Garbine Muguruza of
Spain, along with former top-ranked
Jelena Jankovic and Grand Slam tour-
nament winners Francesca Schiavone
and Sam Stosur. Play starts tomorrow.
Venus Williams targets
WTA finals berth at
Hong Kong Open
ROME---Daniele Bracciali and Poti-
to Starace have had their life bans
for match-fixing lifted by the Italian
The federation s appeals court
decided yesterday to clear Starace
entirely and reduce Bracciali s ban to
Bracciali s fine was also reduced
by half to 20,000 euros ($22,500).
An initial ruling by the federation
in August was based on a probe by
judicial authorities in Cremona, where
the players still face likely charges of
In 2007, Bracciali allegedly dis-
cussed fixing a match in Newport,
Rhode Island, with an accountant
who was later arrested.
In 2011, an owner of a betting par-
lor later arrested was allegedly heard
saying Starace agreed to fix the result
of a Casablanca final.
Starace s career-high ranking was
40th in 2012, while Bracciali reached
49th in 2006. (AP)
Italian tennis players have
life bans lifted in fixing case
Rafael Nadal of Spain hits a return shot against Fabio Fognini of Italy during their
men's singles semifinals match of the China Open tennis tournament at the
National Tennis Stadium in Beijing, yesterday. Nadal won 7-5, 6-3. AP PHOTO
Paire upsets Nishikori to
advance to Japan Open finale
Benoit Paire of France
defeating Kei Nishikori
of Japan during their
singles semifinal match
at the Japan Open
tournament in Tokyo,
yesterday. Paire won 1-
6, 6-4, 6-2. AP PHOTO
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