ATP TOKYO (RAKUTEN OPEN)
CAN NISHIKORI MAKE IT 3 @ RAKUTEN ?
With the absence of the defending Rakuten Open champion Stan Wawrinka, the obvious player to back for this tournament is none other than the crowd favourite Kei Nishikori. The Japanese phenom has won this tournament twice already back in 2012 and 2014.
Other former winners include Nadal in 2010 and Murray in 2011, both of whom are participating in ATP Beijing right now. Simply put, the odds are looking good for Kei to snatch his third ATP Tokyo title this year.
Nishi’s draw isn’t the easiest as his next opponent is a tricky hard court player, J.Sousa of Portugal and then a likely quarter final meeting with the very talented youngster, David Goffin. Head to head stats against Goffin are favouring Nishi 3-0 so it is quite likely he will reach the semi-finals, at which stage he is probably going to face the very tough Marin Cilic who has beaten him 4 times in 11 matches.
In the bottom half of Nishi’s draw, one very probable quarter final is Kyrgios facing an in-form Tomas Berdych. The other could be between the big serving Croat Ivo Karlovic and Monfils. Bear in mind, Monfils has to beat Simon first which isn’t the easiest of tasks.
I would pick a Berdych v Monfils semi-final in the bottom half. I think Berdych should get through that match to reach a consecutive final, just after winning ATP Shenzhen title last week. Odds currently priced around 10 on Berdych in the outright market which is great value.
If the final turns out to be between Nishikori and Berdych as predicted, we will quite possibly have a very high quality affair. If Berdych gets past the semi-final quite easily, there is a lot of logic in favouring him to win his 2nd ATP title in a row.
On the contrary, I would favour Nishi to clinch his 3rd title at this year’s Rakuten Open.
Thanks for reading..