Zverev, Del Potro On Collision Course In Beijing
In 2017, Juan Martin del Potro and Alexander Zverev produced a three-set classic at the Rolex Shanghai Masters. One year later, the Top 5 stars will hope history repeats itself on Chinese soil.
Del Potro and Zverev lead the pack at next week's China Open in Beijing, with plenty at stake for both players in the ATP Race To London. At third and fifth, respectively, the Argentine (4,910 points) and the German (4,365 points) are bidding to make significant statements as they continue their quests to qualify for the Nitto ATP Finals. A final encounter in Beijing could go a long way to determining their fate.
Del Potro will be competing in his first tournament as a 30-year-old when he takes to the National Tennis Centre in the Chinese capital. Fresh off a final run at the US Open, he is making his second appearance at the ATP World Tour 500 event. He opens against Spanish veteran Albert Ramos-Vinolas and could face either Karen Khachanov or Sam Querrey in the second round.
Other seeds in the Tandil native's half of the draw are fourth seed Fabio Fognini, seventh seed Borna Coric and eighth seed Marco Cecchinato. Fognini is playing the best tennis of his career and will be seeking his fourth title of the season on Sunday at the Chengdu Open. His countryman Cecchinato opens against the lone former champion in the draw - Marcos Baghdatis.
While the ATP Race To London is heating up, the ATP Race To Milan is also nearing a thrilling conclusion. Currently in seventh place, Andrey Rublev is the only contender in the Beijing draw and could face Fognini in the second round. But first, the Next Gen ATP Finals contender will have to navigate a tough opener against Portuguese No. 1 Joao Sousa.
Meanwhile, Zverev faces an equally tricky path in the bottom half. Roberto Bautista Agut awaits in the first round in what will be their fifth FedEx ATP Head2Head encounter (tied 2-2). Chinese teen Wu Yibing is a potential second-round opponent, with third seed Grigor Dimitrov and fifth seed Kyle Edmund also looming large.
One year removed from appearing in his first ATP World Tour event at the Chengdu Open, Yibing is making his tournament debut in Beijing. He remains in search of his first tour-level match win, but will be bolstered by a strong performance against fellow teen Felix Auger-Aliassime this week in Chengdu.
In other action, Dimitrov is hoping for a late-season surge to keep his hopes of defending his Nitto ATP Finals crown alive. The 2016 finalist in Beijing opens against Ryan Harrison.
Main draw play at the China Open kicks off on Monday.