ATP Picks: Beijing and Tokyo

Two big ATP 500 events in two of the biggest rival cities in the world split the tour down the middle this week.

China OpenChina Open

A cracking draw with the top 2 in town.

Chinese tennis is improving and 2 wildcards go to Di Wu and Ze Zhang.

China Open

Let’s break it down:

ATP Level: 500

Surface: Outdoor Hard

Defending Champion: Novak Djokovic – Needs to win here to keep year-end #1 chances alive.

Marquee 1st Round: Tommy Haas vs. Lleyton Hewitt – Rusty holds a 6-4 advantage over Haas in a great match up of vets.

Nasty Floater: Grigor Dimitrov – Scrap that. He lost today. Where is his year going?

Veteran Watch:
 Lleyton Hewitt – A wildcard and could face Nadal if he negotiates Haas.

Up and Coming: Di Wu – A rising star in China but will have his hands full against Isner

Slumping: David Ferrer – A mini-slump for The Wall but a chance to make amends this week.

On Fire: Julien Benneteau – Made another final last week and lost, so will he have any fire this week?

My pick: Rafael Nadal – Rafa’s grip on the men’s game is vice like this year. No change here.

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

Rakuten Japan Open Tennis ChampionshipsRakuten Open

Lots of in-form players here this week for this classic tournament.

Wildcards go to Japanese players Tatsuma Ito, Go Soeda and Yuichi Sugita.

Kei+Nishikori+Milos+Raonic+Rakuten+Open+Day+l5xhHBqnbHml

Let’s break it down:

ATP Level: 500

Surface: Outdoor Hard

Defending Champion:
Kei Nishkori – A fairytale run last year, but can he defend? He’s been patchy of late.

Marquee 1st Round: JM Del Potro vs. Marcos Baghdatis – A tough one for both but should be good tennis.

Nasty Floater:
Dimitry Tursunov – Has had a good year on hard courts and is highly dangerous to anyone.

Veteran Watch:
Jurgen Melzer – Faces Nishikori and is having a great year at 32 years old.

Up and Coming: Yuichi Sugita – Gets in-form Dodig, but hopefully he can put on a performance for the home crowd.

Slumping: Janko Tipsarevic – His slump continues and badly needs some match wins.

On Fire: Milos ‘The Rocket’ Raonic – Won in Bangkok last week defeating Berdych and loves the fast indoor courts.

My pick: JM Del Potro – The Sledgehammer looks good for this title, especially as Tsonga is still returning from injury.

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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