2020 Tokyo Olympics tennis Day 5 best bets: Quarterfinal berth on the line for Nishikori
With Naomi Osaka having lost on Tuesday, there is even more pressure on Kei Nishikori to deliver a tennis medal to the host nation. Of course, he won’t necessarily feel that pressure without any fans in attendance–so perhaps that will continue to work in his favor even if it takes away what would have been an electric atmosphere.
Let’s take a look at our best bets for Day 5.
Kei Nishikori -2.5 games over Ilya Ivashka (-122)
Fans or not, Nishikori is playing well at home in Tokyo–a venue at which he has fared quite well in the past, as well. The 31-year-old upset Andrey Rublev in the first round and then beat an in-form Marcos Giron. Ivashka is also playing well, but he has never done much on a big stage and reaching the quarterfinals of the Olympics would be a gigantic step forward for him. This is a big occasion for the Belarusian, whereas it’s obviously nothing new for Nishikori. A bronze medalist in Rio five years ago, Nishikori should continue his bid for another medal without too much trouble.
Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova over Belinda Bencic (-139)
Nobody on the men’s or women’s sides has been as dominant as Pavlyuchenkova so far in Tokyo. The French Open runner-up has won by set scores of 6-0, 6-1, 6-1, 6-1, 6-1, and 6-3. Sure she benefited from Ashleigh Barty’s first-round ouster in that section of the draw, but she is still facing substantial competition and making mincemeat out of it. Although Pavlyuchenkova trails the head-to-head series 5-2, the Russian won their most recent encounter 1-6, 6-1, 6-1 last February in Dubai and she is 2-1 against Bencic on outdoor hard courts.
Paula Badosa over Marketa Vondrousova (-135)
It’s always hard to build on a humongous victory, especially without any days off in between matches. While Bencic beat French Open champion Barbora Krejcikova on Tuesday, Vondrousova posted an even bigger win over world No. 2 Naomi Osaka. What will the Czech do for an encore? Well, it won’t be easy against Badosa. The Spaniard just advanced to the French Open quarterfinals, beating none other than Vondrousova in the process–and clay is a surface that favors Vondrousova. Now they are colliding on a hard court. Badosa has dropped only one set in Tokyo and she knocked off No. 6 seed Iga Swiatek in the second round.
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