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BEIJING (AP) — Rafael Nadal's right wrist is healthy enough to allow him to compete again, the Spaniard said as he prepares for a tough first-round match against Frenchman Richard Gasquet at the China Open.
Nadal hasn't played a match since losing in the fourth round of Wimbledon to Australian teenager Nick Kyrgios. He injured his wrist while practicing on his home island of Mallorca in late July and was forced to drop out of the U.S. Open, where he was the defending champion.
"The injury in my wrist, as I said before, I cannot say 100 percent because I still feel something when I start for the first five minutes of the practice," he told reporters in Beijing on Saturday. "But in general the injury is not limiting me to compete."
Nadal is seeded second at the tournament behind defending champion and top-ranked Novak Djokovic, who has a perfect 19-0 record in Beijing and will be aiming for his fifth title.
Nadal said the Serb's record in Beijing suggests he will be the player to beat.
"Novak dominates almost all the tournaments," Nadal said. "Normally he likes to play here. We'll see what's going on this year."
Djokovic, who opens against Guillermo Garcia-Lopez of Spain, is playing his first match since losing in the semifinals of the U.S. Open to Japan's Kei Nishikori.
The other top men's players in the draw are Andy Murray, who reached his first final since last year's Wimbledon triumph at the Shenzhen Open on Saturday, as well as newly crowned U.S. Open champion Marin Cilic of Croatia.
On the women's side, fifth-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland, the 2011 China Open champion, moved into the second round with a 6-4, 6-3 win over American Coco Vandeweghe on Saturday.
Another American, Madison Keys, also advanced with a tough 6-3, 6-7 (3), 7-5 win over countrywoman Alison Riske and Chinese wild card Lin Zhu moved on when Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova retired with dizziness while trailing 6-3, 3-3.
Serena Williams, who retired from her opening match at the Wuhan Open last week with a viral illness, is the top seed in Beijing, followed by second-ranked Simona Halep and No. 3 Petra Kvitova, who captured her third title of the year in Wuhan.
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