Venue: Ariake Coliseum, Tokyo, Japan
Surface: Indoor Hard Court
Day 1: 13:00 Local (04:00 GMT)
Day 2: 13:00 Local (04:00 GMT)
Day 3: 13:00 Local (04:00 GMT)
R1 Tatsuma Ito v Radek Stepanek
R2 Taro Daniel v Lukas Rosol
R3 Tatsuma Ito/Yasutaka Uchiyama v Radek Stepanek/Jiri Vesely
R4 Tatsuma Ito vs Lukas Rosol
R5 Taro Daniel vs Radek Stepanek
What could have been an enthralling tie on paper, Japan-Czech Republic doesn’t quite have the same edge to it without the number one players from each side. Tomas Berdych has chosen not to compete while Kei Nishikori is still suffering from the injury that forced his withdrawal from the Miami semi final, a day after defeating Roger Federer in the quarter finals. None of Japan’s players are inside the top 100 which should give the weakened Czech team reason to be confident to advance.
Tatsuma Ito leads the way and opens against Radek Stepanek - Ito has actually won the only encounter between the two, in the ill-fated Dusseldorf World Team Cup event on clay. Ito’s exploits indoors are few and far between but he was a finalist in Kyoto Challenger earlier in the year.
Taro Daniel is even more inexperienced indoors but has been impressive in his introduction to the main tour this year. Wins over Federico Delbonis and Thomaz Bellucci in Vina del Mar showcased his talent but he was a first round loser in his only indoor Challenger event this year.
With a weakened team and the surface advantage definitely in the Czech’s favour, it is hard to see the Japanese team taking the tie and may be in danger of a whitewash if the projected ties hold.
Prediction: Czech Republic advances
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