A highly unexpected match-up is scheduled to take place on Sunday afternoon, as World No. 17 Kei Nishikori and world No.64 Santiago Giraldo will meet in the final of the Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell to determine the first champion at this tournament (not named Rafael Nadal) since 2010. Check out the Nishikori vs Giraldo Head to Head matches.
Nishikori battled past Latvian No. 1 Ernests Gulbis in 86 minutes on Saturday afternoon. The Japanese No. 1 hit 1 ace, 80% of his first service points and did not face a single break point in his 6-2, 6-4 victory. He is now through to his second final of the season, having already won the Delray Beach title earlier back in February.
“I was very happy to see lots of Japanese people congratulating me after the match,” said Nishikori. “I love coming to Spain to play. There have not been any easy matches. I am playing great and I am particularly pleased with my serve and forehand against [Marin] Cilic and today.”
Colombia’s Santiago Giraldo picked up on of his biggest wins of the season when he toppled 2013 Barcelona runner-up and Nadal vanquisher Nicolas Almagro in the semi-final on Saturday afternoon. He hit six aces, 19 winners and held Almagro to one break of serve in seven opportunities, eventually earning the victory in 85 minutes.
This marks the sixth time these two competitors will meet on the professional tour, with Nishikori leading the head-to-head series 4-1. The only met once on clay and it was also their most competitive match, with the Japanese No. 1 emerging victorious 2-6 4-6 7-6(3) 6-2 6-4. Considering Giraldo’s amazing performances this week, it is not out of the realm of possibility that he may upset Nishikori on this surface. He has already overcome Almagro in the semi-finals and will be looking to carry the momentum to his first ATP World Tour title.
Prediction: Kei Nishikori in Three Sets