This week is always a busy one on the tennis calendar. In Beijing, the women have their last big event of the year before the WTA Finals, while the men are split into two reliably compelling fields in Tokyo and alongside the women in Beijing.
Aga Radwanska claimed her second title in Beijing by beating Johanna Konta, 6-4, 6-2. It’s Radwanska’s third Premier Mandatory title (Beijing 2011, Miami 2012) and fifth Premier Mandatory or Premier Five (2011 Tokyo, 2014 Canada). She becomes the seventh player to accomplish the latter feat since the Premier system was introduced (Azarenka, Halep, Kvitova, Sharapova, S. Williams, Wozniacki). Among those seven, only Williams, Kvitova and Radwanska have also won the WTA Finals. Radwanska now sits third in the year-to-date standings as she seeks her first top-3 season.
Relevant results: A gimpy Angie Kerber lost to Elina Svitolina in the round of 16. Venus Williams lost first round to Peng Shuai. Radwanska beat Wozniacki in their third meeting in the last three events (Wozniacki won in Tokyo, Radwanska in Wuhan). Simona Halep was beaten handily by Zhang Shuai. Konta beat Karolina Pliskova and Madison Keys en route to the final. Keys, though, notched important Race to Singapore wins over Kvitova (who herself had beaten Garbine Muguruza) and Svetlana Kuznetsova.
Andy Murray won the event without dropping a set, topping Grigor Dimitrov 6-4, 7-6 (2) in the final, boosting his chances of replacing Novak Djokovic for World No. 1, though there’s still a lot of work to do. It’s Murray’s fifth title of the season and the 40th singles title of his career. Murray also began the week by notching his 400th career win on hardcourt, tying and passing Stefan Edberg’s 400 for eighth-most in the Open Era.
Relevant results: Dimitrov had a strong run to the final, playing excellent tennis to beat Rafael Nadal in the quarterfinals, his first win in their eight matchups. Dimitrov also won tight three-setters over Lucas Pouille and Stevie Johnson. Milos Raonic got to the semis, but a rolled ankle meant he had to withdraw from his meeting with Dimitrov. David Ferrer had a spirited run to the semis with a win over Sascha Zverev (who beat Dominic Thiem and Jack Sock), though he was beaten handily by Murray. Nadal’s first three sets of the tournament were flawless, all 6-1 to the good. Then it went south, with a shaky 8-6 tiebreak set over Adrian Mannarino and his loss to Dimitrov. After arguably his first truly bad and inexcusable loss of the year, Nadal came back to win the doubles with Pablo Carreno Busta, beating the Bryan Brothers in the semifinals, followed by Sock and Bernie Tomic in the final. Tomic’s weak net play cost him and Sock a double minibreak lead in the match tiebreaker. The Spaniards won 6-7, 6-2, 10-8.
Nick Kyrgios scored his third title of both this season and his career by winning an entertaining final over David Goffin, 6-4, 3-6, 7-5. Both players were unable to convert break points (both sat at 1/12 late in the third set), but it was Kyrgios who was finally able to cash in at 5-5 before sealing the championship with an ace. Kyrgios will rise to a career-high 14th in the rankings and becomes the youngest active player to own a 500 title.
Relevant results: Kei Nishikori was the top seed but retired against Joao Sousa with a glute injury. He has withdrawn from Shanghai next week. Kyrgios won a enthralling semi over Gael Monfils in the pair’s long overdue first meeting. Though both played well, Monfils spent too much time content to retrieve and let Kyrgios dictate play. Goffin’s solid tournament included wins over Marin Cilic, Sousa and Jiri Vesely. Coming off a title in Shenzhen, Tomas Berdych was flat in an opening loss to Gilles Muller.
Twitter Notes of the Week
-The ATP 250 in Metz is moving to Taiwan.
-In a surprising move, 4-time Chennai champ Stan Wawrinka is moving to Brisbane for his Australian Open warm-up. Though Roger Federer has dropped it, Brisbane now has the most impressive 250 field in recent memory: Wawrinka and Nadal will join stalwarts Milos Raonic and Kei Nishikori.
–Wawrinka spoke on the panic attack he endured before taking the court in the U.S. Open final.
Active players top10 1 Serena, 71
2 Vee, 49
3 Sharapova, 35
4 Woz, 24
5 Vika, 20
5 Aga, 20
7 Kvitova, 18
8 Kuz, 16
9 Ana , 15
9 JJ, 15
— José Morgado (@josemorgado) October 9, 2016
— British Tennis (@BritishTennis) October 8, 2016
Before Elina Svitolina this year, the last player to beat multiple #1s in the same season was Sam Stosur in 2010 (vs Serena and Wozniacki).
— Jeff Sackmann (@tennisabstract) October 8, 2016
— Excelle Sports (@ExcelleSports) September 30, 2016