ATP Picks: Beijing and Tokyo

Do you prefer Chinese or Japanese? Two big ATP 500 events in two of the biggest rival cities in the world split the tour down the middle this week.

China OpenBeijing

Plenty of big name players here including top seed Djokovic. Chinese tennis still in it’s infancy but not lacking in people playing the game.

Let’s break it down:

ATP Level: 500

Surface: Outdoor Hard

Defending Champion: Tomas Berdych – Not here to defend this year.

Nasty Floater: Mikhail Youzhny – Played well in St.Petersburg last week and gets Haas in a nice first round.

Veteran Watch:
 Tommy Haas – Ranked 21 unbelievably and must be confident for the rest of the season on harder surfaces.

Up and Coming: Marinko Matosevic – The young Australian has game and could face Djokovic in round 2.

Slumping: Kevin Anderson – Had a breakthrough year last year, but not putting results together in 2012.

On Fire: Julien Benneteau – Playing great and showing no signs of age.  Not seeded, so a tougher route through the draw for him.

My pick: Novak Djokovic – Hardly original but what can you do.

Did You Know? The tennis centre employs space-age air-cooling technology to benefit players and spectators.

Rakuten Japan Open Tennis ChampionshipsTokyo

Lots of in-form players here this week for this classic tournament. Japanese tennis is further advanced than in China with wildcards going to Sugita, Moriya and Ito. Top Japanese player Kei Nishikori, of course is playing his home event and gets fellow Japanese player Go Soeda.

Let’s break it down:

ATP Level: 500

Surface: Outdoor Hard

Defending Champion:
Andy Murray – Back to defend after US Open glory. Tough opening test against Monfils.

Nasty Floater:
Gilles Simon – Not seeded and gets Tipsarevic who he beat last week.

Veteran Watch:
Radek Stepanek – The Worm keeps turning but gets an early bird in Raonic first round.

Up and Coming: Benoit Paire – Charismatic Frenchman tries to trip up Berdych round 1.

Slumping: Robin Haase – Not fulfilling his promise this year and has a tough draw to boot.

On Fire: Martin Klizan – Picked up maiden title in Russia and looks to keep his streak going.

My pick: Andy Murray – Unless recent success has quelled his fire, he should have enough energy to run through the competition here.

Did You Know? It is the longest-running ATP World Tour tennis tournament in Asia, first held in 1972.

Watch: The Asian Swing Uncovered

Thanks for reading and check back next week for more picks and amusement!

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