As exhilarating the final is anticipated to be, there is one hurdle for Nadal to reach the finals in China Open to replace Djokovic, after 100 weeks of world number one in ATP ranking list, defeating Tomas Berdych in quarter-final.
But before, let’s look at who has a better chance to reach the finals—Rafael Nadal v Tomas Berdych and Novak Djokovic v Richard Gasquet.
Rafael Nadal(2) v Tomas Berdych(4) (Head to Head, Nadal leads 15-3)
With a mammoth victory over Fabio Fognini, Rafael Nadal made his way through to the semi- finals of China Open in Bejing to face Tomas Berdych.
Winning this match is important for Nadal, as he will be put back to World No.1. Recently, Nadal defeated Berdych in semi-finals at Cincinnati this year and has done the same on six other times on hard courts. Berdych has been unable to defeat Nadal in a match since 2006. They both are facing each other for the 19th time in their careers and the fourth time in 2013, Nadal winning the prior three.
World number 5, Berdych has won 70% of the Games against common opponents and Nadal has won 90% of the games against common opponents. Nadal has defeated Santiago Giraldo, Philipp Kohlschreiber and Fabio Fognini—latter by 2-6, 6-4, 6-1.
Berdych destroyed John Isner—7-5, 6-2 in the quarter-final.
Statistically, this sets the odds in Nadal’s favour. While Nadal was facing knee problems in the quarterfinals against Fognini, Berdych might have some physical advantage over him.
Prediction: Nadal in three sets.
Novak Djokovic (1) v Richard Gasquet (5) (Head-to-head: Djokovic leads 8-1)
Top seed Novak Djokovic will clash with world number 10, Richard Gasquet coming head-to-head for the tenth time. While most of the earlier matches are won by Djokovic leading by 8-1, counting 6-1 on hard court, it will be a hard time for Gasquet to defeat the top seed.
In the last clash between the two, in the ATP tour, Rogers Cup-Montreal, Novak Djokovic had an easy win on the hard court, defeating Richard Gasquet in straight sets—6-1, 6-2.
Gasquet is right now at his best, playing some of his best tennis. He reached U.S. Open semi-final. He has reached so far in China Open defeating—Florian Mayer, Bernard Tomic and David ferrer all in straight sets. Gasquet seem to be in his best form.
Djokovic, who will lose his top spot if Nadal beats Berdych, is also playing well after his final loss to Nadal in U.S. Open this year. He has defeated Rasol—6-0, 6-3 and Querrey—6-1, 6-2.
Though the French should give a better competition to the Serbian, but is he going to conquer the world number 1 is definitely a big question mark. Whereas, Novak Djokovic looks confident to face the rival in the final—Rafael Nadal seeking revenge for his last defeat.
Prediction: Djokovic wins in straight sets.