Davis Cup Finals Day 2 Predictions – France vs Japan

Nicolas Mahut and Pierre-Hugues Herbert Davis Cup Finals
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The highlight of the morning session on day two of the new Davis Cup Finals in Madrid is a potentially pivotal Group A clash between France and Japan. The French team are surely the favourites, boasting considerable star power including recent ATP Finals champions Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut. The Japanese, in contrast, are without their talisman Kei Nishikori. But who will prevail?

Davis Cup Finals Day 2 Predictions

Gael Monfils vs Yoshihito Nishioka

Head-to-head: first meeting

With Nishikori missing from the team due to injury, it’s 24-year-old Yoshihito Nishioka who plays the Davis Cup Finals as the Japanese #1. Nishioka was on the rise two years ago, before a ruptured ACL brought a halt to his progress up the rankings. But Nishioka has managed to recover impressively from that major setback to establish himself as a regular on the main tour and he is currently ranked well-inside the top 100 at world #73.

He certainly has the game to cause Gael Monfils problems if the Frenchman is not at his best. And off days are hardly irregular for Monfils. Although when he is at his best he can be almost unplayable, he suffers more than his fair share of ignominiously early exits. That said, the 33-year-old has delivered some of the best performances of his career when playing for France. He has the power to hit through Nishioka, whereas the Japanese, for all his consistency, may struggle to really trouble Monfils.

Prediction: Monfils in 3

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga vs Yasutaka Uchiyama

Head-to-head: first meeting

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga may not be the force he once was, but after missing most of 2018 having undergone left knee surgery, the Frenchman has been  slowly regaining his form. His recent run of results, including a quarterfinal showing at the Paris Masters and winning title the in Metz suggests he is back to something approaching his best.

Although 2019 was definitely the best year in the career of Yasutaka Uchiyama, he doesn’t look likely to stand much of a chance here. The Japanese broke into the top 100 this season and reached four ATP Challenger Tour finals, winning two of them. But he has not enjoyed much success indoors and in the fast conditions Tsonga should be able to dominate play on his serve and attack Uchiyama’s vulnerable serve.

Prediction: Tsonga in 2

Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut vs Yasutaka Uchiyama and Ben McLachlan

Head-to-head: N/A

Davis Cup Doubles ties can produce huge upsets, but don’t expect one here. Herbert and Mahut had an excellent finish to the 2019 season, winning the Paris Masters and the ATP Finals without dropping a set. Together, they’ve completed the career Grand Slam and won seven out of nine ATP Masters 1000 events. Make no mistake, they are one of the premier doubles partnerships in men’s tennis. Uchiyama and Ben McLachlan, meanwhile, are not a regular doubles pairing and look certain to be outclassed here. It is hard to see them succeeding where the best doubles players in the world have failed over the last month.

Prediction: Herbert and Mahut in 2

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