Some big-ticket players will be on show when the 2019 ATP Japan Open continues on Tuesday, October 1 and you can find the Novak Djokovic v Alexei Popyrin & Borna Coric v Taro Daniel tips, previews and predictions below along with some other matches.Get the best odds for the ATP Japan Open 2019 with 888Sport here.
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Novak Djokovic v Alexei Popyrin Predictions & Preview
This will be the first time that the world number one Novak Djokovic and 94th-ranked Alexei Popyrin will be facing off against each other. Djokovic is returning to tennis following a layoff from the tour because off a shoulder injury that saw him withdraw from the third set of his match against Stan Wawrinka. On the other hand, Popyrin had to go through the qualifying rounds in this competition to make it to the main draw.
All eyes will be on the Serb, who had earlier today played a doubles match and lost in the third set. His shoulder looked okay but the big test will come in this match and the rest of the tournament. Popyrin might not be the strongest opponent to test the Djokovic shoulder but there might be enough clues on offer.
Why we say that about the Aussie is he has struggled through this year with a 17-16 win-loss record on hard court surfaces and apart from a third round appearance at the US Open, and a quarter-finals at Atlanta, there has been nothing to boast about.
Tip: Over 19.5 games in the match: 4/6 with Unibet
Borna Coric v Taro Daniel Predictions & Preview
Again, a first match between Borna Coric and Taro Daniel and it comes in this first round here at the Japan Open. Coric is currently 14th in the world, with a final appearance at the St.Petersburg Open to show for his effort. He had also managed to win his opener at Zhuhai before going down to Alex de Minaur in the quarter-finals.
He also had a semi-final showing in Dubai in March but that aside, it has been a pretty underwhelming hard court season for Coric.
Which is why he will be glad to get an opponent like Taro Daniel as his first round match. Daniel’s career-best ranking has been 64th – he is 127th now – and he has never won his first round match at four previous outings at this tournament. And what makes it doubly tough for him is he has been playing Challengers on clay ever since he lost his US Open qualifier in August.
Tip: Coric to win in straight sets: 8/11 with Unibet
Benoit Paire v Yasutaka Uchiyama Predictions & Preview
23rd-ranked Benoit Paire plays Japan’s Yasutaka Uchiyama in their first round match at the Japan Open and this will also be another first-timer in terms of a contest. Uchiyama is currently 136th in the world, his best ranking thanks to a solid season at the Challengers.
He didn’t drop a single set at the Shanghai Challenger en route his title win there recently, and was the finalist at the Granby Challenger as well. Uchiyama is yet to take that big step up but against a player like this could be a decent shot.
Why’s that? Because Paire’s not had the best time on hard courts this year. Having lost 12 of his 22 matches on this surface, his runner-up trophy at the Winston-Salem Open was his best showing by some distance. That aside he went on a five-match losing streak on hard courts before April earlier this year and while things have improved a tad, it will be interesting to see if he can clinically get past Uchiyama.
Tip: Paire to win: 5/7 with Unibet
Taylor Fritz v Reilly Opelka Predictions & Preview
This is a match between two players who will be 22 years old by the end of this year and are meeting for the fifth time. Unfortunately for Opelka he has never beaten his opponent, having only won one set against Fritz.
Fritz also played in the Laver Cup, ahead of Opelka, winning one of his matches against Dominic Thiem. And till before he went on a strange form dip from the Montreal Masters onwards, Fritz looked like a player to beat.
He won a title at Eastbourne, made it to the final at Atlanta and then again at Los Cabos. And then came the form problems. In four successive matches on hard court surfaces, Fritz lost and to opponents he would think he should have won against.
This is his chance to turn things around against Opelka, ranked 53rd in the world, but it’s not like he has had a very poor string of form. A semi-final at Atlanta was followed by three successive tournaments with a win and loss apiece.
This could be a good, three-setter in the offing.
Tip: Over 23.5 games in the match: 4/5 with Unibet