Tokyo 2020 Tips: Nishikori to surprise Djokovic on Thursday

Novak Djokovic at Tokyo 2020 Olympics
Novak Djokovic (pictured) has to take on home-inspired Nishikori

The head-to-head record and ratings suggest Djokovic is a certainty to win his quarter final, writes Jack Houghton, but Nishikori could produce a home shock...

"Over three sets, in the heat and humidity that Djokovic has complained about, and with the meaning Nishikori will attach to performing well at his home Olympics, this could be an upset in the making..."

Stubblety-Cook looks vulnerable in 200m Breaststroke

It's little surprise to see Zac Stubblety-Cook (1.664/6) the favourite for the Men's 200m Breaststroke. After all, he looked comfortable winning his semi-final and possesses the second-fastest time ever.

Those odds look short, though. Stubblety-Cook is certainly capable, but the 22-year-old has yet to win any kind of major championship, and will likely need to match his personal best from the Australian trials to win gold here.

An issue for Stubblety-Cook is the depth of the opposition, several of whom could provide a minor upset. World-record holder Anton Chupkov (12.0011/1) has swum poorly so far, but could easily bounce back to his best form, and James Wilby (19.0018/1) swam the semi-final much better than his heat and could improve again. The biggest danger might be Arno Kamminga (5.204/1), though, who is the fastest of these swimmers over 100m.

In such an open race, Stubblety-Cook should be odds-against, and the value is to lay him.

Kei Nishikori can upset Djokovic

If Novak Djokovic (1.071/14) is to become the first player to claim a Golden Slam since Steffi Graf in 1988, then he'll need to dispatch home favourite Kei Nishikori (14.0013/1) in the quarter finals. On first inspection, that task looks relatively easy for Djokovic: he has a 16-2 record against Nishikori, and any ratings will demonstrate that Nishikori form has rapidly fallen away since his US Open final in 2014 saw him tackle the world's best for a few seasons.

Over three sets, though, in the heat and humidity that Djokovic has complained about, and with the meaning Nishikori will attach to performing well at his home Olympics, this could be an upset in the making.

Dominant Croatian pair can be sunk

Coming into this Olympics, the Croatian pair of Martin and Valent Sinkovic (1.251/4) were among the strongest favourites to take gold. And not without reason. They've twice won Olympic golds in different events, picked up a silver in 2012, and have a slew of other world championship and world cup successes to their name in various boats and combinations. This season they've remained unbeaten, picking up a fifth European championship on route.

They are the most likely winners, but doubts are creeping in. They were only the third fastest to qualify for the final, and the weather on the water in Japan has led to some calamitous rowing. At such short odds, I'd rather be a layer than a backer.

*Odds correct at the time of writing

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Jack Houghton’s Tokyo 2020 P&L

Staked (settled bets): 26.20
Returned: 4.00
P/L: -22.20

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