With Spaniard Rafael Nadal breathing down his neck and aiming to steal that ATP number one ranking, Novak Djokovic is pressed to perform well, or at least better than Nadal, in the 2013 China Open.
The 26-year-old Serbian meets another player from Spain in Fernando Verdasco in the Round of 16 stage of the tournament held in Beijing, China.
Nadal is through to the quarterfinals already after beating Philipp Kohlschreiber, 6-4, 7-6 Tuesday evening. Before the Beijing tourney, Djokovic has 11,120 points to Nadal’s 10,860-- a 260-point difference between the two best players in tennis today.
The China Open champion will be awarded 500 points, while the losing finalist will be awarded 300.
Djokovic is no stranger to winning in this part of the world. He is the current defending champion after 2012’s conquest of Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, 7-6 (4), 6-2 and also China Open titlists in 2010 and 2009.
However, Verdasco has had his share of success against Djokovic. In nine meetings, he was able to pull off the upset four times already. More impressively, Verdasco has won the last two meetings against Djokovic.
In 2010, Verdasco defeated Djokovic in the quarterfinal round of the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 in Italy, Rome in three sets, 7-6(4).3-6,6-4. Also in 2010, Verdasco came out a winner in the semifinals of ATP World Tour Masters 1000 in Monte Carlo, Monaco via straight sets, 6-2, 6-2.
Djokovic beat Czech Republic's Lukas Rosol, 6-0, 6-3 in the opening round while Verdasco defeated Indian qualifier Somdev Dewarman, 7-6, 6-3 in his own opener.
S. Querrey vs. S. Wawrinka N. Djokovic vs. F. Verdasco B. Tomic vs. R. Gasquet D. Ferrer vs. M. Matosevic