After a bit of a down period following the US Open, the stars return to action this week in
Beijing and Tokyo. Djokovic, Nadal and other big names headline
the Beijing field, and Wawrinka and Nishikori
are the top seeds competing for the Tokyo
title. As the end of the season stretch
run begins, here's some things to look for during the week ahead.
Will Djokovic pick up where he left off? Djokovic has been brilliant throughout 2015, and is the heavy favorite to take home the
Beijing title. He should be well rested after taking a
post-US Open break, so the only real risk is that he has a bit of a mental letdown. Assuming he comes ready to play, the
defending champion should be just about unbeatable. As good as he always is throughout the year,
he's even better after the US Open. He
lost a grand total of 1 match following the US Open in 2013 and 2014, and don't
be surprised if he goes on a similar run in 2015.
Who can build some needed momentum? Lots of talented players in both draws could use some momentum as they aim for a strong end to their season. Milos Raonic has been up and down since his foot surgery earlier this year, but his game should be suited to the faster courts in Asia and
the rest of the year. A run to the semis in Beijing (where he'd face Djokovic) could give
him some confidence as he prepares to return to the top of the game in
2016. Jack Sock has had a decent 2015
and established himself as a top 30 player, but it still seems like he should
win more than he does with all his talent.
He's got a tricky draw in Beijing
with Tsonga and Nadal nearby, but the American may be getting ready to make his
move into the next tier of the ATP Tour.
A strong run in Beijing
to kick of the end of the season may be just what Sock needs. In Tokyo,
it will be important for Kei Nishikori to regain the momentum he had earlier in
the summer. He was on a tear after
winning Washington D.C.
and making the semis of Montreal, but then fell
meekly to Murray, missed Cincinnati
with an injury and lost first round in New
York. A strong
run on his home turf could quickly establish that he's ready to return to being
a top 5 player.
Will Cilic, Fognini and Paire build on their
Open success? It will be important
for Marin Cilic to back up his run to the US Open semis and establish he really
is back to elite form. A deep run in US Tokyo could send notice
to the tour that he's ready to become a threat week in and week out, and that
his early season struggles were simply lingering effects from his 2014 wrist
injury. If he falls early, tennis fans
will be left wondering when Cilic will show he's more than just a threat at the
occasional big event. Meanwhile, Fabio
Fognini and Benoit Paire have long been two of the tour's more enigmatic
players, but appear to be trending in the right direction after impressive US
Opens. They have loads of talent, and
will be looking to show their US Open runs were a sign of things to come. Beijing and Tokyo will be good places
to start, but don't be surprised with anything these two do.