The semi-finals of the Rakuten Japan Open on Saturday are headlined by No. 2 seed Gael Monfils, No. 4 Marin Cilic, No. 5 David Goffin and No. 6 Nick Kyrgios. All four are trying to earn a spot for the season-ending Barclays ATP World Tour Finals in London, 13-20 November.
In the opening match, Goffin brings a 2-0 head-to-head record against Cilic. The Belgian won earlier this season in a first-round Davis Cup tie and in the quarter-finals at ATP Masters 1000 Indian Wells. Goffin is appearing in his fourth semi-final of the season and he’s trying to reach his first ATP World Tour final of the season. Cilic is making his fifth semi-final showing of the year and he’s 1-2 in finals in 2016. Cilic and Goffin are 10th and 11th in the race respectively. But No. 8 Dominic Thiem suffered a first-round loss in Beijing and withdrew from next week’s ATP Masters 1000 Shanghai. With No. 9 Tomas Berdych eliminated in the Tokyo first-round, Cilic can pass the Czech and move to within 305 points of Thiem by winning the Rakuten Japan Open title. Goffin would be 540 points behind Thiem if he captures the Tokyo championship.
In the next match on, NextGen Aussie star Kyrgios and Monfils square off for the second time. The Frenchman won the previous meeting 76 64 in a dead rubber in a 2014 first-round Davis Cup tie in France. The 21-year-old Kyrgios is appearing in his sixth ATP World Tour semi-final of the season (2-3) and he’s trying to earn his third title. The 30-year-old Monfils, who is No. 6 in the Emirates ATP Race to London, is also making his sixth semi-final showing of the year (3-2). He is 1-2 in finals, winning the biggest title of his career at the ATP World Tour 500 event in Washington on 24 July. Kyrgios has moved up to No. 13 in the Emirates ATP Race to London and he will go to No. 12 if he reaches the final.
In doubles, Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi and Gilles Simon will face No. 2 seeds Raven Klaasen and Rajeev Ram for a place in the final against Marcel Granollers and Marcin Matkowski.