Goffin Can Move Closer To London Berth In Tokyo Final
Sunday is of the utmost importance in Tokyo, as one player in the final is competing for a spot in the Nitto ATP Finals, while his opponent is attempting to capture his maiden ATP World Tour title.
The championship match of the Rakuten Japan Open Tennis Championships features unseeded Adrian Mannarino against No. 4 seed David Goffin, who has won both previous meetings, in Marseille (2012) and Basel (2015). Mannarino is trying to become the first Frenchman to win the Tokyo title since Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in 2009, while Goffin is attempting to become the first Belgian to win the event.
Goffin is appearing in the Tokyo final for the second-straight year (l. to Kyrgios) and the he enters his attempt to win his fourth-career title on an eight-match winning streak after earning his third-career ATP World Tour title in Shenzhen last Sunday.
The Belgian has moved to No. 10 in the Emirates ATP Race To London standings and is 105 points ahead of American Sam Querrey for the final spot. If he wins, Goffin will add 200 points to rise past Pablo Carreno Busta into No. 8 in the Race. Goffin is playing in his fourth final this season (1-2) and the 10th ATP World Tour final of his career (3-6).
Mannarino, who posted the biggest win of his career over No. 5 Marin Cilic in the semi-finals is trying to capture his first ATP World Tour title.
There have been seven first-time winners on the ATP World Tour this season. The last player to win his maiden crown in Tokyo was South African Wesley Moodie in 2005 (d. Ancic). He was also the last unseeded Tokyo champion. The last left-hander to win the event was Rafael Nadal, who is in the China Open final, in 2010.
This is Mannarino’s second final of the season after a runner-up showing in Antalya, Turkey in July (l. to Sugita), and the fourth of his career. The Frenchman posted his third Top 10 win of the season over Cilic and equaled his career-best wins total (28) from 2015.
In the doubles championship, the Japanese wild card duo of Ben Mclachlan and Yasutaka Uchiyama take on No. 2 seeds Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares, who are 3-2 in finals this season.
The Japanese squad upset the top seeds and US Open champions Jean-Julien Rojer and Horia Tecau in the quarter-finals en route to the final. This is Mclachlan’s first ATP World Tour main draw, while Uchiyama entered the week with one tour victory, three years ago in Tokyo. The last Japanese duo to win an ATP World Tour doubles title was Satoshi Iwabuchi and Takao Suzuki in 2005 Tokyo.