There’s a handful of worthy headlines, so here’s a little midweek roundup:
Djokovic out of Beijing
With an unblemished 29-0 record, six-time China Open champ Novak Djokovic withdrew from this year’s edition, which takes place next week. Via his personal website, Djokovic’s statement said in part, “I’m still recovering from my elbow injury and have been advised not to play until my condition improves. I will continue with my rehabilitation and hope to be able to return to the ATP Tour as soon as possible.”
The World No. 1 did partake in his “Djokovic and Friends” exhibitions last week in Milan, so it’s not as if he’s in dire straights in the health department. Often cited as Djokovic’s most dominant event on tour, his absence will open the draw for last year’s other finalist, Rafael Nadal, who will now get his own half of the draw rather than land in one with either Djokovic or Andy Murray. Milos Raonic and David Ferrer round out the top four seeds (Correction: Dominic Thiem took a wild card, so he’ll be the fourth seed).
Djokovic will drop 500 points from last year’s Beijing title and has not announced if he will defend his title at the Masters event in Shanghai the following week.
Kvitova outlasts Kerber
The Premier 5 event Wuhan event is underway for the WTA and it saw the new World No. 1 taken out in the round of 16. After losing their encounter at the U.S. Open, Petra Kvitova overcame Angie Kerber in a match that verged on three and a half hours, the third longest WTA match of the year. Kerber stole the first set in a 12-10 tiebreaker, but Kvitova surprisingly didn’t fade, coming back to take the next two sets for a 6-7, 7-5, 6-4. Kerber saved six match points and Kvitova saved nine break points over her final two service games.
The match was marked by this fantastic 41 shot rally:
— WTA (@WTA) September 28, 2016
Kvitova notched her fourth career win over the current World No. 1, each against a different player:
Petra Kvitova wins over #WTA No.1s
2009 US Open (d. Safina)
2011 WTA Finals (d. Wozniacki)
2015 Madrid (d. Serena)
2016 Wuhan (d. Kerber)
— Kevin Fischer (@Kfish_WTA) September 28, 2016
-In the other big Wuhan upset, Garbine Muguruza continued her strangely dismal season, losing early again, this time to Jelena Jankovic. The French Open champ is just 13-11 in hardcourt tournaments this year, with only one semifinal run.
-Simona Halep and Madison Keys take the car keys as the new favorites in Wuhan. One problem: they play each other in the quarterfinals.
-Sara Errani is cutting the rest of her season short to recover from injuries. The 29 year old will finish the season well outside the top 40 after a 21-24 campaign, including 16-22 against the top 100. The former French Open finalist may be in steep decline (2016 breaks a four year streak of seasons inside the top 20), though she did pick up the first singles Premier title of her career in Dubai back in February.
-A visualization of how much tennis Dominic Thiem has played this season. Thiem withdrew from the doubles this week in Chengdu, but remains in the singles draw:
Tomorrow Dominic Thiem plays his 100th match of the season (singles + doubles).
Race Top-10 players arranged by number of matches in 2016: pic.twitter.com/nYW9cVsZBN
— Oleg S. (@AnnaK_4ever) September 27, 2016
-David Goffin’s slide continued with a loss in Shenzhen to Malek Jaziri.
-Following his first career title in St. Petersburg, Sascha Zverev withdrew last minute from Shenzhen.