Novak Djokovic will make his return to action this week at the Japan Open Tennis Championship. The world No.1 was forced to retire from his fourth round match against Stan Wawrinka at Flushing Meadows last month due to a shoulder injury and was unsure when he would be able to compete again. Nevertheless, the 16-time Grand Slam champion said he’s finally close to being pain free and decided he was ready to make his first ever appearance in Tokyo.
Looking now at Novak’s draw on this event, the 32-year-old will face Australian qualifier Alexei Popyrin in the opening round. Djokovic is the undeniable favorite to win this match and also the main contender to lift the trophy in Tokyo at -139 with Bet365. However, it’s hard to trust on Novak to go all the way on this event after his recent physical problems. Djokovic said multiple times this year that Grand Slams are by far his biggest priority and he won’t hesitate to retire from the tournament if he feels some pain on his shoulder. On the other hand, the No.1 seed will also have a tough task in Tokyo with dangerous players on his half of the draw such as Marin Cilic or David Goffin. With this in mind, our suggestion is for you to avoid placing a bet on Novak’s futures in Tokyo due to the lack of value on his tennis betting odds to win the title.
Yoshihito Nishioka is a great example of determination and sacrifice. The former junior world No.12 enjoyed a great start to the season and was on the course to have a breakthrough year after reaching the quarterfinals in Acapulco and the round-of-16 at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells. However, Nishioka suffered a severe ACL injury at the Miami Open and required a season-ending surgery. The Japanese couldn’t play tennis for nine months and dropped outside the Top 300 one year after the injury.
Despite long absence, Nishioka managed to end 2018 as the world No.75 after a brilliant campaign on the Challenger Tour. The 24-year-old decided to go back to the ATP Tour in 2019 and is having a very good season. Besides reaching the quarterfinals at the Western & Southern Open, Nishioka also made it to the second round in three of the four Grand Slam tournaments.
Two-time Japan Open champion Kei Nishikori won’t play in Tokyo this year due to an elbow injury, which leaves Nishioka as the crowd’s favorite. The world No.60 will begin his Japan Open campaign on Monday against Joao Sousa. The Portuguese reached back-to-back quarterfinals in St. Petersburg and Chengdu and will be looking for another good run in Tokyo. Nevertheless, Sousa has always struggled against left-handed players with a poor 3-9 record this season. Adding to this, Nishioka leads 1-0 in their head-to-head after a three-set victory a few weeks ago in Cincinnati. Having said that, our advice is to add Yoshihito’s moneyline to your betting picks as the best approach for this match.
Best Pick: Yoshihito Nishioka ML (-105) with Pinnacle