Japanese Super Star Kei Nishikori looks good value for third title in Tokyo at 5/2.
Top seed Kei Nishikori plays in a far weaker top half of the draw and the 5/2 general appeals this week. We commence the 2nd round of matches through the night with a 3am start in what is the middle of the seasons three week Asia Swing, before the tour moves back to Europe for the final leg of the season for the indoor campaign.
Nishikori brushed aside last year's shock early exit at the hands of eventual finalist Benoit Paire with a victory over tricky American leftie Donald Young in these very quick outdoor conditions of Tokyo.
I feel the top half is where we need to concentrate as the bottom half is littered with big servers that will require plenty of tiebreak luck in probably two or three matches just to reach the championship game so I am happy to leave out front runners in that section like Gael Monfils at 11/2 (third favourite), last week's winner for us in Shenzhen Tomas Berdych 8/1 who's body will surely struggle to hold out for two weeks running following his lay off from appendicitis. Nick Kyrgios could pop up and 9/1 and appeals most from the bottom half but feel he would still really struggle to beat this week's selection Kei Nishikori should he even make the final from a difficult berth.
Ivo Karlovic should not also be dismissed at 18/1 coming fresh off the back of a good run at the US Open and conditions will be very much in Dr Ivo's favour like many from that bottom half who's serve will be tough to break.
I will leave the bottom half coin-toss, tie breakers to unfold, and only see 4th seed Marin Cilic who is short enough at 9/2 second favourite as the primary danger in making the final for Nishikori who is 1/10 to beat Joao Sousa of Portugal who has been struggling with a knee injury of late and then David Goffin or Jiri Veserly will not put any fear up the top seeds game in a quarter-final warm up before facing Cilic in the semi's.
The Croaitian lost to Nishikori here last year 6-3 in the third set decider so the Japanese star has that victory to draw on as well as the box office home support he will embrace. Nishikori leads the recent Cincinnati champion 7-4 on the head to head that has included the most recent two matches and at 5/2 offers far more appeal for the fresh top seed over the 9/2 for the inconsistent Croatian who will probably find a 250 ranking event indoors as his next success before the season is out.
Recommendations - ATP Tokyo. Kei Nishikori to win Outright @ 5/2 General.