Sunday, 29 September 2013

ATP Beijing, Tokyo: Preview and Predictions

8 of the world's top 10 men will be in either Beijing or Tokyo this week.  Both are 32 player draws and have some really good potential match-ups.

ATP Beijing
Novak Djokovic
Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal light up a stunning stack of men heading to Beijing.  Djokovic opens up against Lukas Rosol, who has unsurprisingly not been able to live up to his stunning win over Rafael Nadal at Wimbledon in 2012.  The Serb will not have a complete walkover to the final as he could meet Stanislas Wawrinka in the quarters, who has pushed him to 5 sets in both their matches this year.  Stan doesn't have an easy draw himself with Andreas Seppi up first (all I can think of is that incredible match they played in Rome last year) and potentially, Mikhail Youzhny in the second round.

Nadal will also have some competition as he plays a qualifier in round one and then could meet Philipp Kohlschreiber in the second round, who was the only player other than Djokovic to take a set off him en route to the US Open title.  Tommy Haas could await in the quarters if he can get through the tireless efforts of Lleyton Hewitt in the first round.

In the middle quarters, David Ferrer and Richard Gasquet could square off in a US Open quarter-final rematch,  meanwhile John Isner and Tomas Berdych are the top seeds in the third quarter.  Gasquet made the semi-finals of Bangkok this week where he fell to Milos Raonic in 3 sets.  Ferrer surprisingly lost to champion, Joao Sousa in Kuala Lumpur, who is definitely a name to keep an eye on.  Ferrer plays Montreal semi-finalist, Vasek Pospisil in the first round and could meet Kuala Lumpur finalist, Julien Benneteau in the second round.

1st Round Predictions: Djokovic to beat Rosol in 2 sets, Youzhny to beat Querrey in 2 tight sets, Wawrinka to beat Seppi in 3 sets, Ferrer to beat Pospisil in 3 sets, Gasquet to beat Flo. Mayer in 2 tight sets, Berdych to beat Andujar in 2 sets, Haas to beat Hewitt in 3 sets and Robredo to beat Fognini in 3 sets

Semi-final Predictions: Djokovic d. Gasquet, Nadal d. Isner

Moo's Final Prediction: Nadal d. Djokovic

ATP Tokyo
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
For Beijing I have gone pretty much with the seedings, but I see quite a few upsets in Tokyo starting with the number 1 seed, Juan Martin del Potro, who has taken a wildcard into the tournament.  The Argentine has been hampered with a wrist injury and has often struggled against his first round opponent, Marcos Baghdatis, who has beaten him twice and took him to a third set tiebreak in Dubai earlier this year.  I don't expect much from Janko Tipsarevic, who is projected to meet del Potro in the quarter-finals.

The draw is bookended by Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, who made a solid return from injury two weeks ago when he made the final in Metz eventually losing out to Gilles Simon.  Tsonga's first round match is the pick of the bunch as he takes on fellow entertainer, Gael Monfils.  Tsonga leads the head-to-head by 3 wins to 1 and won their last encounter in Doha at the start of 2012.  Whoever comes through that clash is likely to meet Ivan Dodig in the second round, who is my surprise tip for the title.

Gilles Simon and Milos Raonic should also do well in this draw.  Simon, who struggled all summer due to whooping cough, make a triumphant return in Metz and made the semi-finals in Bangkok where he pushed Tomas Berdych to 3 sets.  Raonic has continued his good form over the summer and exacted revenge over Richard Gasquet in Bangkok on his way to the title.  He takes on Go Soeda in the first round and should be a lock to at least the quarter-finals.

1st Round Predictions: Baghdatis to beat del Potro in 3 sets, Brands to beat Dolgopolov in 3 sets, Nishikori to beat Melzer in 3 sets, Lopez to beat Ito in 2 sets, Chardy to beat Llodra in 2 tight sets, Simon to beat Granollers in 2 tight sets, Nieminen to beat Monaco in 3 sets and Tsonga to beat Monfils in 3 sets

Moos' Final Prediction: Dodig d. Lopez

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