Following the conclusion of the 500 level tournaments in
Beijing and Tokyo,
here are some thoughts before the tour turns to the Shanghai Masters 1000.
Djokovic was scary good: That Djokovic won
Beijing wasn't a surprise
by any means. He was the heavy favorite,
and hadn't lost a match in Beijing
since 1974. But anytime you roll through
Isner 6-2 6-2, Ferrer 6-2 6-3 and Nadal 6-2 6-2, it's hard not to be
impressed. The only question heading in
was whether Djokovic was due for a mental letdown after not playing since his
US Open win, and he sent a message that he's once again ready to dominate the
end of the year.
Nadal took a step in the right direction: In years past Nadal would have considered a tournament in which he got destroyed by Djokovic in the finals a failure. Based on how his 2015 has gone, he can't be too disappointed given that he actually made a hard court final. He had some decent if not spectacular wins along the way (Pospisil, Sock and his nemesis Fognini), and if nothing else it should help his confidence. Nadal clearly has a ways to go before he's ready to start challenging for grand slams again, but it's not like the wheels are completely falling off either. We'll soon find out if he can keep up his solid form against the tougher competition in
Lots of big names disappointed: Several big name players blew good opportunities in
Beijing and Tokyo, and have to be
disappointed with their weeks. Nishikori
once again fell to Paire, and thus was unable to avenge his US Open loss in his
home country. But at least he had a
better week than Gasquet, Berdych, Raonic, Tsonga and Dimitrov, who all failed
to win a match. There's no shortage of
talent amongst this group, but the week to week consistency is clearly missing. Gasquet needed a big week to put some
pressure on Ferrer as he tries to make a run at the year end championships in London, but now it looks
like Ferrer should have the eighth and final spot wrapped up.