The Reuters global sports blog
Safin, 29, has decided to hang up his racket at the end end of the season after 12 years as a professional and organisers of the Beijing event held a special farewell ceremony for him after his entertaining defeat to Rafa Nadal in the quarter-finals.
Nadal had found himself in the unusual position of having fans cheering for his opponent as the Russian former world number one continued to reap the dividends of being the first China Open champion back in 2004.
Safin was clearly moved by the post-match ceremony, which included a video message from Safina, and if he said thank you to the Beijing fans once, he said it a thousand times.
As mayor of Beijing for most of the period running up to the 2008 Olympics and now Vice Premier of China with responsibility for financial and economic affairs, Wang Qishan has been a very busy man over the last few years.
He has, however, made time to indulge his passion for tennis and been highly influential in the growth of the China Open tournament, now one of the top events in women’s tennis with ambitions of becoming an Asian major.