Japan Open: Semi-finals Preview and Prediction
The two semi-finals of the Japan Open ATP 500 tournament will feature two bright young talented next-gen players and two relative veterans on the circuit pitted against each other. Here is a preview of the two matches.
Denis Shapovalov vs Daniil Medvedev:
In this match between the two future stars, Shapovalov is the higher ranked and probably the more accomplished one. But the unassuming Medvedev is on a hot streak of his own.
His straight-set demolition of Milos Raonic may be dubbed as an upset. Yet it could also be seen as the young gun finally beginning to realize his potential. If he could pull off a win against the more fancied fellow next-gen star, he would surely make a splash in the tennis circuit.
He has already defeated Tsitsipas in the US Open. This victory would bring him into the conversation of the future superstars of tennis such as Alexander Zverev, Tsitsipas, and Shapovalov. However, the flashier and more fancied Shapovalov would not like to be the second Canadian in a row to fall at the hands of Medvedev. I expect this to be a very close match.
Prediction: Medvedev to win in 3 Sets
Kei Nishikori vs. Richard Gasquet:
Nishikori was supposed to meet Kevin Anderson in this match. But the wily Gasquet played a high-quality match and held his nerve at important moments to win against the higher seeded Anderson in two sets, both ending in tie-breaks.
Now, he has defeated two big servers in Anderson and Kyrgios, and both of those matches could be termed as upsets. Could he cause one more upset? Unlikely.
He is going to face the home favourite Kei Nishikori who looks determined to win his first tour-level tournament, after what seems like ages. Neither player has a big serve or any big weapon to blast the opponent off the court. But Nishikori is surely the more versatile of the two.
Even though Gasquet has a beautiful one-handed backhand, it is not as consistent as Nishikori’s two-handed backhand, which is probably the second best backhand in men’s tennis behind Novak Djokovic’s.
Prediction: Nishikori to win in 2 Sets