Following strong performances in the opening round, Japanese No. 1 Kei Nishikori and Spain’s Guillermo Garcia-Lopez will meet for a spot in the third round of the Mutua Madrid Open. This is the second time they cross paths on the professional circuit, with Nishikori leading the series with a victory in 2008. Check out the Nishikori vs Garcia-Lopez Head to Head.
Nishikori won his first clay-court title at the Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell last week, where he defeated Santiago Giraldo in the final. Prior to that victory, he had reached the semi-final round in Miami, as he defeated Roger Federer in the quarter-final but was forced to withdraw from the event ahead of his final four match-up against Novak Djokovic.
The world No. 12 is attempting to become the first Japanese man enter the Top 10 of the Emirates ATP Rankings and will next challenge wild card Spaniard Guillermo Garcia-Lopez in the second round of the Madrid Masters, after defeating Ivan Dodig 6-4, 6-4 on Monday afternoon.
“I started well,” said Nishikori. “I broke his serve in the first game. He’s not easy to play. He has a great serve and he comes to the net sometimes. But I played really well. There was just one bad game, on my serve at 3-2 in the second set. Otherwise, it was an almost perfect match.”
Guillermo Garcia-Lopez defeated Paolo Andujar 6-2, 2-6, 6-2 to reach the second round in Madrid. The world No. 38 is now 17-10 this season and is already at a further stage of the tournament than he had reached last season. He holds a 6-5 record at the event, with his best performance being a third round showing in 2010-11.
This marks the second time these two competitors will meet on the professional circuit, with Nishikori leading the series 1-0 with a victory in Tokyo back in 2008. After a successful start to his clay court season, Nishikori will likely be brimming with confidence and will sweep past his Spanish opponent in straight sets.
Prediction: Kei Nishikori in Straight Sets