A compelling match-up between Japanese No. 1 Kei Nishikori and surging Slovak Martin Klizan is scheduled to take place in the opening round of the French Open on Monday. The two competitors previously met in the qualifying round in a Seoul Challengers back in 2007, but this marks the first time they meet on the ATP World Tour.
After withdrawing from the Rome Masters to ensure he is injury free in time for Roland Garros, Japanese No. 1 Kei Nishikori is looking to pcik up where he left off in Madrid, when he almost defeated Rafael Nadal in the final before suffering the hip injury. Nishikori was playing some extraordinary tennis, but ultimately retired from the contest in the third set with a hip injury. He was trailing 2-6, 6-4, 3-0.
Earlier this season, Nishikori won his first clay-court title at the Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell, 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.
Martin Klizan is coming off a recent ATP World Tour title win in Munich, where he defeated German No. 1 Tommy Haas and Italian No. 1 Fabio Fognini in consecutive fashion. He also picked up wins over Denis Istomin and Mikhail Youzhny in the draw. He will look to carry forth that momentum and defeat the former top ranked Australian on Tuesday afternoon. Most recently, Klizan lost to Ernests Gulbis in the second round in Nice.
This is the first time that Nishikori and Klizan will meet on the professional circuit. Klizan holds a obscure victory over the Japanese No. 1 in a Seoul Challengers match-up back in 2007, but that will certainly not factor into the contest. The favourite in the contest will be Nishikori, who is in remarkable form so far this season, but Klizan has also done some outstanding things so far this season, including wins over Haas and Fognini.
Prediction: Kei Nishikori in Straight Sets