Chinese wild card Zhang and Wu face tough challenge in men's draw

Updated: 2013-09-30 16:34

(Jackson Hayes)

  Print Mail Large Medium  Small 分享按钮 0

BEIJING, CHINA - Both Chinese men in the 2013 China Open ended up on opposite sides when the draw was set Saturday afternoon at the National Tennis Center.

Light applause broke out when it was announced that wild card entry Wu Di, ranked No 243, would play American John Isner in the first round. However, 5-foot-8-inch Wu could have problems with the 6-foot-10-inch American. Isner is the No 8 seed in this weeks tournament and No 16 in the world.

On the other half of the draw is the other Chinese wild card entry, 190th ranked Zhang Ze. He's slated to play 50th ranked Bernard Tomic in the first round.

Zhang beat his fellow countryman Wu, 2-6, 6-2, 7-6(4), in the quarterfinals of a tournament in Shanghai earlier this month. However, in order for an all-Chinese rematch the players would need to make it to the final on Oct 6.

No 2-ranked Rafael Nadal will play against a qualifier in the first round while Beijing fan favorite and world No 1 Novak Djokovic will play Lukas Rosol. Djokovic beat Rosol, 6-1, 6-0 earlier this year in their only career meeting.

However, even as the No 1 seed, Djokovic has arguably the toughest quarter of the draw. Five of the other six announced players come from the top-35, including six seed and world No 10 Stanislas Wawrinka.

The two players are close friends and are pairing up in the doubles tournament. "It's the opportunity to have this kind of a team spirit on the court in a way," Djokovic said.

"You're always alone (playing singles) so when you play doubles, you get to share the court with your partner."

The white-hot Nadal also faces a tough route to the final. His quarter includes four other top-25 players and potential quarterfinal meeting with the final wild card recipient, two-time Grand Slam champion Lleyton Hewitt. Hewitt plays seven seed Tommy Haas in the opening round.

A potential matchup of former China Open champions could occur in the semifinals. Tomas Berdych (2011) is seeded fourth and could face Nadal (2005) if both players advance.