The Japan Open in the capital of Tokyo started in 1972 and it is the oldest running tennis tournament in Asia. Ariake Colosseum complex hosts the event every season and it is one of the most impressive in this part of the world, with over 50 courts and a retractable roof on the Center court.
The list of champions is also a notable one, containing Ken Rosewall, John Newcombe, Manuel Orantes, Ivan Lendl, Stefan Edberg, Jim Courier, Pete Sampras, Lleyton Hewitt, Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Andy Murray, Kei Nishikori, Juan Martin del Potro and Stan Wawrinka, and there will be a new player on the list next Sunday.
Namely, none of the previous champions will be here to fight for the crown, leaving the doors wide open to someone else. Marin Cilic is the top seed, seeking his second title of the season, and he will face a qualifier in the first round, with another qualifier or Yasutaka Uchiyama waiting in round 2.
Things will become much harder from the quarter-final, as he is settled to play against US Open finalist Kevin Anderson, who has to pass Gilles Simon and Ryan Harrison in order to set the clash with Marin.
The third seed Milos Raonic returns to the court for the first time since Montreal and he opens his campaign against Viktor Troicki, and Benoit Paire or Yuichi Sugita are waiting in the second round.
Go Soeda, Adrian Mannarino, Albert Ramos-Vinolas, and Jiri Vesely will also try to reach the semis but we should see Milos there if he managed to recover completely from the injury he had.
Sam Querrey and a former finalist David Goffin lead the third quarter, and we should get a solid quarter-final match between they if they pass the first two obstacles. Sam will open the tournament against Richard Gasquet, who is not in a great form, and it should be even easier against Taro Daniel or Yen-Hsun Lu in round 2.
Goffin will have to work harder to reach the last 8, facing Feliciano Lopez in the first match, with Croatian veteran Ivo Karlovic waiting in the second, and we should know that Belgian is still in China, playing the Shenzhen final.
Dominic Thiem is the second seed and he plays against Steve Johnson, with the second round match against Alexandr Dolgopolov or Daniil Medvedev. Diego Schwartzman, Donald Young, Bernard Tomic and Joao Sousa will seek the semi-final spot from the bottom quarter as well, and we will see is Thiem capable of beating them all and advance to the semis for the first time since Roland Garros. Full draw: