Sports / Tennis

Nadal, Djokovic duel likely at China Open

By Sun Xiaochen ( Updated: 2014-06-06 22:01

The 2014 China Open men's tournament will feature a Grand Slam caliber matchup following the confirmed entry of Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic.

The possible French Open final between Nadal and Djokovic is likely to re-occur at the China Open this year, after the organizing committee confirmed on Friday that the world's top two stars will compete at the ATP 500 tournament in Beijing.

Nadal and Djokovic will both play their semifinals at 2014 Roland Garros on Friday night, and the China Open organizing committee is hosting a match-watching party in Beijing's Sanlitun to witness their progress to the final.

The 2014 China Open is scheduled for Sept 21 to Oct 5 at the National Tennis Center, the 2008 Beijing Olympics venue, which was expanded to an 11-court complex with a 15,000-seat stadium court and retractable roof in 2011.

The venue is a favorite of Djokovic's. Since the Serbian's first appearance there in 2009, he has remained undefeated at the China Open, claiming four trophies and a 19-match winning streak, only missing the tournament in 2011 due to injury.

Djokovic attributes his excellent record in Beijing to his loyal fan base.

"Playing in Beijing always means a lot to me, and I love playing in the China Open every year. I'm thankful for the support of all of my Chinese fans, especially the In Club members. I really hope to entertain the crowd and try to continue my winning streak in the Diamond Court (the stadium court)," said the 27-year-old.

Winning the 2008 Beijing Olympics gold medal at the same venue, Nadal also has deep bond with the tournament. The Spaniard claimed the title in his first China Open appearance in 2005 and returned to the final last year, where he lost to Djokovic.

"I have great memories from playing in Beijing, and I look forward to seeing all of my Chinese fans in the Diamond Court this October. I really appreciate their support," said Nadal.

Alfred Zhang, China Open tournament director, expressed his welcome to the stars.

"Every year, we make efforts to present the best players to our fans. It is well known that all the top WTA players will attend the Premier Mandatory event, and now we are joined by the World No 1 Nadal and World No 2 Djokovic on the ATP World Tour. Expectations build now for an excellent 2014 China Open. We invite everyone who loves tennis to join us this October, to enjoy this great tournament together."

Up to the French Open this year, the dominant pair in the current ATP World Tour rankings have faced each other a remarkable 41 times, a stunning record in the Open Era. Tennis fans in China eagerly hope that last year's final between the two hottest stars on the ATP World Tour can be reproduced at the 2014 China Open.

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