Cilic Leads Big Field In Tokyo
Marin Cilic might feel like he's playing himself again and again and again this week at the Rakuten Japan Open Tennis Championships 2017 in Tokyo. The top seed is slated to meet a number of players whom, like Cilic, prefer to serve big and dictate play immediately after the first ball.
The 6'6” Croatian, who will be going for his second title of the season (Istanbul), opens against a qualifier but could face 6'8” Kevin Anderson in the quarter-finals. The South African is coming off his maiden Grand Slam final at the US Open earlier this month (l. to Nadal).
Anderson, like Cilic, will also be looking to strengthen his spot in the Emirates ATP Race To London, which determines the Top 8 who play at the Nitto ATP Finals, to be held 12-19 November at The O2 in London.
In the semi-finals, if the seeds hold, Cilic could meet 6'5” Milos Raonic, who's seeded third and is returning after a seven-week absence because of a left wrist injury. The Canadian last played at the Coupe Rogers in Montreal in mid-August. Raonic withdrew from the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 in Cincinnati and the US Open.
Six-foot-six Sam Querrey rounds out the big servers populating the Tokyo draw. The sixth seed opens against French veteran Richard Gasquet. Fourth seed David Goffin, eighth seed Diego Schwartzman and second seed Dominic Thiem are the other seeds in the bottom half.
Goffin is playing Alexandr Dolgopolov in the Shenzhen Open final on Sunday. Thiem faces Steve Johnson of the U.S. in the first round and will look to rebound after losing his Chengdu opener to Argentina's Guido Pella earlier this week.