Mai Hontama - Nao Hibino predictions and free betting tips [25/09/2023]
An evening of a Tokyo day at the WTA 500 tournament will be bustling with the arrival of local big tennis fans on the central court, as two Japanese women - Mai Hontama and Nao Hibino - will play their first round match against each other. The girls are united only by their affiliation to the land of the rising sun, and in all other aspects, they're very different.
I suggest you get acquainted with this battle of two Japanese tennis stars, as well as find an interesting bet for it, but most importantly, the right one.
By today's standards, Hontama has not been considered a promising tennis player for a long time. She has been playing in the tour for almost 8 years, but took 3 seasons for Mai to adapt to a professional level of play. Then, gently Hontama started playing the futures tournaments, and now she is a constant on ITF competitions where she is looking quite decent from time to time.
Speaking of Hontama's entries in the current season, the Japanese spent the first half on hard court futures where she thrice made the quarter-finals, and in the indoor stadium became the winner of the tournament in Maribor. There were other failures, including unsuccessful attempts to qualify for Grand Slams, however the competitions on hard courts started again, where Hontama reached the quarterfinals in Stamford, having passed the qualification—it's worth noting the semi-final in Osaka, where Hontama only lost to Krueger, the winner of the tournament.
In general, it can be concluded that Mai likes the hard courts and it's only on them that the lady is ready to bag trophies. Tokyo (500) started again with a qualification for Hontama where she effortlessly defeated her countrywomen. Now it's the turn of another Japanese player, but a far more challenging opponent for Mai. I don't know why Hibino is not the favourite of the game against Hontama, possibly because of failures in recent tournaments. Yes, Mai performed well at the tournament in Osaka, but the competitions here are of a different level and the opponents are much tougher. If Hibino doesn't have a lot of errors in rallies and doesn't mess up her serve, there's really no way Hontama with her brand of tennis stands a chance in this game.
Nao has always been considered a talented tennis player who hasn’t quite fully self-realised, so now she's contented with the little, although on the other hand, the lady has 3 'main' titles and 9 won futures.
It's not easy to label Hibino as an age-defying tennis player but the peak of her rise is over, yet who's to stop her from making efforts at improving her game. This season, Nao has already won an important trophy at the Livesport Prague Open, although she was lucky to make it into the main draw since she lost to Emelina Arango in the qualifiers, which turned out to be a debacle—after which, no one expected good tennis from the Japanese even as a "lucky loser". However, Nao composed herself, knocking out quite difficult rivals on her way to triumph. I most liked the final against Linda Noskova, where Hibino looked picture-perfect.
After winning the trophy, the Japanese began to lose, as if she felt that she had achieved her seasonal goal by winning the title in the Czech Republic. Hibino had an injury in Stanford, a setback at US Open, then at futures where Hibino was lacking motivation, and the Osaka tournament, where she lost in the first round.
Tokyo (500) is a different tournament, here one must earn cash and points for the WTA table. I think, playing in front of home crowd against a compatriot, with a superior game, Hibino must deliver good tennis. Yes, Hontama is a challenging opponent, far from an easy pass, but Hibino is simply stronger—and the arguments that come with her superior skills in Hibino's favour do not allow us to ignore this bet.
Prediction for the match: Mai Hontama - Nao Hibino
I've already chosen an option, I believe it's best to bank on Hibino's victory. In all metrics, she's stronger and her unpredictable tennis game may indeed turn out to be weak, but I will rely only on the set of arguments that are in strength.