World No. 2 Rafa Nadal starts the final push to what he hopes will be a return to the No. 1 spot when he gets under way at the China Open here on Tuesday.
The second seed and 2004 China Open champion opened his Beijing bid with a 6-2, 6-4 win over Santiago Giraldo of Colombia to set a second-round clash with Philipp Kohlschreiber of Germany.
Nadal will reclaim world No. 1 as soon as next Monday if he reaches the China Open final, even if Djokovic wins the title.
The Spaniard has been in sizzling form this season, winning 10 titles and registering a 61-3 record since returning from a seven-month injury lay-off in February.