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China Open lives up to its spectacular billing

By SHI FUTIAN | China Daily | Updated: 2019-10-08 09:09
Naomi Osaka of Japan poses with her China Open trophy in Beijing on Oct 6, 2019. [Photo/Xinhua]

Along with quality family time and exploring historic sites, the perfect way to savor Beijing during the National Day holiday was by attending the China Open.

The local organizer described the biggest combined WTA and ATP tournament in Asia as "mustsee" entertainment, particularly for fans of the new crop of young superstars.

"We can see the fans' recognition towards our tournament," said Chen Jie, deputy director of Beijing Municipal Bureau of Sports.

"Although some top players such as Rafa Nadal and Novak Djokovic did not come this year, the growing younger generation of players put on a great show and made our tournament very attractive."

The prestigious event draws the world's best players to China's capital every fall.

This year, Japan's Naomi Osaka claimed the WTA Premier Mandatory title on Sunday with a 3-6, 6-3, 6-2 victory over current world No 1 Ashleigh Barty of Australia.

In the men's draw, top seed Dominic Thiem of Austria recovered from a set down to defeat Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece 3-6, 6-4, 6-1 for his fourth championship of the season and the 15th singles title of his career at the ATP 500 event.

"Honestly, I just wanted to win this one for my fans," the 21-year-old Osaka said on the WTA Insider Podcast after her win. "I know it was a hard year, but I'm so grateful and so lucky to have them.

"I just wanted to prove something to myself, which was that even on the days that I know I'm so tired but I'm 100 percent, if I keep fighting I'll be able to find a way to win."

Osaka was not the only player who experienced a tough challenge in Beijing, as high-level international tournaments like the China Open often stretch their limitations. Thiem likewise presented the fans with one of his best performances.

"It feels great because today was for me one of the best matches I've played in my life. In terms of game style and how I came back, it's definitely one of my biggest titles because the tournament is so strong, the draw was so strong," said the Austrian.

"It makes me very happy that I stand as the champion at the end of the week."

Dominic Thiem of Austria poses with his China Open trophy in Beijing on Oct 6, 2019. [Photo/Xinhua]

Along with the star-studded international cast, China's best was in the spotlight but delivered little to cheer about.

Seven Chinese women made the singles draw, but only Zheng Saisai managed to survive two rounds before losing to Barty in the last 16. On the men's side, Zhang Zhizhen was the only homegrown player to make the second round.

"We could hang in there, competing with quality shots for a while in certain matches, but once our level drops after some key points it's hard for us to maintain the intensity that is needed at this high level," said Zheng.

For fans unable to watch the China Open on site, the organizer offered state-of-the-art broadcasting as the first tournament in the world to broadcast on an 8K signal. The tournament also utilized the 5G network to transmit data.

"Last year the China Open became the first tournament in the world to use and broadcast a 4K signal, and this year we explored the application of the 8K signal," said Gao Yang, who is in charge of the tournament's broadcast and copyright.

"We're the first in the world again."

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