Nishikori wary of Coric challenge

Kei Nishikori will begin the defence of his Japan Open title against teenager Borna Coric, a player the world number six knows poses a dangerous threat first up.

The 25-year-old Nishikori, who also emerged triumphant at the event in 2012, heads to Tokyo on the back of a disappointing run which saw him knocked out of the US Open in the first around, having made it to the 2014 final. However, Nishikori went on to play a crucial role in helping Japan to a Davis Cup victory over Colombia, and he will be looking to channel this positive momentum as he heads into an event that ranks as one of his favourites.

"It's really fun to play on the stadium here," he told the official ATP Tour website. "Even on Sunday a lot of people show up for practice. It's great for Japanese tennis. I'm very happy to be playing here. I feel comfortable and look forward to their support [on Monday]."

Nishikori will face Coric for the first time when they do battle in Monday's first round action, and the Japanese number one is well aware that 18-year-old is a force to be reckoned with.

"We've never played before," Nishikori said. "We just had one practice together last week. It's going to be a new match, but everything is going well. He's one of the young guys playing good tennis, so it's going to be a dangerous match."

Should Nishikori fight his way past Coric, a second round tie against either Alexandr Dolgopolov or Sam Querrey.