Beijing and Tokyo previews and predictions

The stars are coming out for the continuation of the Asian swing, with a combined five top-10 players taking the court this week in Beijing and Tokyo. That list includes Rafael Nadal, Alexander Zverev, Grigor Dimitrov, Marin Cilic, and Dominic Thiem. Nadal is the obvious favorite to bag the Beijing title, while the Tokyo trophy may be a bit more up for grabs.

China Open

Where: Beijing, China
Surface: Hard
Prize money: $3,028,280
Points: 500

Top seed: Rafael Nadal
2016 champion: Andy Murray (not playing)

Draw analysis: Nadal erased any demons he had from his 2016 U.S. Open loss to Lucas Pouille in a fifth-set tiebreaker when he triumphed last month in New York for his 16th career Grand Slam title. Now the Spaniard finally has a chance to avenge that loss in the form of a head-to-head showdown, as he will face Pouille in the Beijing first round. The top half  of the draw is not an easy one, as John Isner is a potential quarterfinal opponent for Nadal and the other quarter consists of Dimitrov, Roberto Bautista Agut, and Juan Martin Del Potro.

Nick Kyrgios captured the Tokyo title last year, but in 2017 he is taking his talents to Beijing. In a much more favorable section of the bracket than the top half, Kyrgios opens with Nikoloz Basilashvili and could face Pablo Carreno Busta in the quarterfinals. The second-seeded Zverev, meanwhile, was fatigued the whole way this past week in Shenzhen and got bounced by Damir Dzumhur in the quarters. Zverev may have a difficult opener on his hands with Kyle Edmund, while Dimitrov has to go up against the red-hot Dzumhur right off the bat.

First-round upset alert: Jared Donaldson over (7) Tomas Berdych. Berdych benefited from a favorable draw and a hobbled Djokovic to reach the Wimbledon semifinals. Other than that, however, the Czech has mostly underwhelmed in 2017. Donaldson, on the other hand, has earned 20 of his 31 career ATP-level match victories this season. The up-and-coming American just reached the Chengdu quarterfinals, so his confidence remains high.

Hot: Rafael Nadal, Pablo Carreno Busta, Roberto Bautista Agut, Paolo Lorenzi, Damir Dzumhur, Andrey Rublev, Jared Donaldson

Cold: Nick Kyrgios, Karen Khachanov, Pablo Cuevas, Jack Sock, Fernando Verdasco

Quarterfinal predictions: Rafael Nadal over John Isner, Juan Martin Del Potro over Roberto Bautista Agut, Pablo Carreno Busta over Nick Kyrgios, and Alexander Zverev over Jared Donaldson

Semifinals: Nadal over Del Potro and Zverev over Carreno Busta

Final: Nadal over Zverev

Rakuten Japan Open

Where: Tokyo, Japan
Surface: Hard
Prize money: $1,563,795
Points: 500

Top seed: Marin Cilic
2016 champion: Nick Kyrgios (not playing)

Draw analysis: Tokyo is already without its biggest star, as Kei Nishikori is injured. A couple of other top players in this year’s field may not last too long, either. Thiem continues to struggle on anything other than clay and he is coming off an immediate exit in Chengdu as the No. 1 seed there (lost right away to Guido Pella). Third-seeded Milos Raonic has not played since Montreal and has only four matches under his belt since Wimbledon, so Viktor Troicki or Benoit Paire could give him some trouble in the early rounds.

With Raonic an obvious question mark, Cilic and Kevin Anderson are the favorites in the top half of the draw. And they are in the same quarter, too, on a collision course for the last eight. Cilic has owned the head-to-head series (6-1), but Anderson recently made it all the way to the U.S. Open final. In the bottom half, Goffin, Feliciano Lopez, U.S. Open quarterfinalist Sam Querrey, U.S. Open quarterfinalist Diego Schwartzman, and Shenzhen runner-up Alexandr Dolgopolov could be factors. Thiem, meanwhile, will kick off his campaign—and perhaps end it, as well—against Steve Johnson.

First-round upset alert
: Feliciano Lopez over (4) David Goffin. It is safe to say that Goffin has recovered from his summer knee issues, because he just battled to the Shenzhen title this past week. Of course, that may not help the Belgian’s chances in Tokyo—especially because Goffin’s last two matches required a combined six sets and almost four and a half hours. A well-rested Lopez, meanwhile, is no stranger to success on the Asian swing.

Hot: Kevin Anderson, Sam Querrey, Diego Schwartzman

Cold: Milos Raonic, Gilles Simon

Quarterfinal predictions: Kevin Anderson over Marin Cilic, Yuichi Sugita over Adrian Mannarino, Feliciano Lopez over Taro Daniel, and Diego Schwartzman over Dominic Thiem

Semifinals: Anderson over Sugita and Schwartzman over Lopez

Final: Anderson over Schwartzman

19 Comments on Beijing and Tokyo previews and predictions

  1. If the draw holds, every round could be challenging for Rafa, especially if the courts plays fast and/or doesn’t bounce very high. Personally, I still wouldn’t pick against Rafa to win this tournament, and I agree with Ricky’s pick. But it has the potential to be tougher than one would think. I think one potential match that some people might be sleeping on is Khachanov in the second round. I think that match could be a “cracker”, as the Aussie’s would say. Or Khachanov could just be too shook to even put up a fight, like a lot of the young guns are when facing Big 3. If the draw holds and Rafa can maneuver through it en route to the title, then that would surely give him a great boost of confidence for faster/indoor tournaments thereafter. If I had to bet money, I would bet on Rafa beating Zverev in three sets for the title. For me, Rafa’s performance in this tournament should be a good indication of his readiness for these late-season tournaments which have traditionally not been his strong suit. It certainly helps everyone, not just Rafa, that the two guys who have largely dominated these late-season, fast or indoor tournaments for the last few years are out with injury. It could potentially make things interesting, or it could be 2017 business-as-usual with Fedal winning the remaining bigger titles.

      • Oh wow! Maybe I’m not sleeping enough on Khachanov haha?? I also don’t know anything about Wu. Is he definitely poised for the upset?

        • Nah it’s more of a gut feeling. Khachanov has been awful lately and Wu has seriously tested some top guys on home soil in the past. For example he lost in a third set breaker to Shanghai a few years back. He also lost 4 and 4 to Nadal in Beijing a few years ago so he’s not a bad player. Just rarely plays outside of Asia. He also beat Cuevas in Shanghai last year. Khachanov is still the favorite but I have a feeling about Wu in this one.

  2. Beijing –
    Nadal over Isner
    Dimitrov over Bautista Agut
    Kyrgios over Carreno Busta
    A. Zverev over Sock
    Nadal over Dimitrov
    Kyrgios over A. Zverev
    Kyrgios over Nadal

    • No problem Sanju. Rafa will eat even all the banana skins and win the China Open event! Rafa likes big money for which he won’t mind eating a few banana skins (and fruit) also!

      With no “fed the goat” in the draw, it should be an easy victory for Rafa here!

    • Sanju- if we were speaking in person, and you said your above comment about banana skins, I would probably laugh as if I got the joke even though I have no idea what you mean haha. Please elaborate for me…

  3. Tokyo –
    Cilic over Anderson
    Mannarino over Paire
    Querrey over Goffin
    Young over Dolgopolov
    Cilic over Mannarino
    Querrey over Young
    Cilic over Querrey

  4. Tokyo : F: Anderson d Querrey
    Semi : Anderson d Raonic,Querrey d Schwartzman

    I have Raonic doing well even he’s not done much lately,but has a good Tokyo record.

  5. Hedging on many side. On many sides. From both Rafans and antifa(n)s.



Comments are closed.

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