Kei Nishikori and Milos Raonic will meet in the third round of the Mutua Madrid Open on Thursday afternoon, in what will mark just their second ever meeting on the professional tour. The Japanese won that encounter in the Tokyo final back in 2012 and will be looking to remain undefeated against Raonic on Thursday.
After reaching back-to-back quarter-finals in Monte-Carlo and Portugal, Milos Raonic began his campaign at the Mutua Madrid Open on Tuesday afternoon with a 6-3, 6-3 win over France’s Jeremy Chardy. The Canadian hit 11 aces and won 80% of his service points to improve to a 4-0 ATP h2h record against Chardy.
“I played really well,” said Raonic,. “I did the things I needed to. I was able to get the breaks. I was able to execute on the opportunities I created and, as is always the most important thing for me, I was able to take care of my serve.”
Japanese No. 1 Kei Nishikori continues to cruise in Madrid. After starting his campaign with a 6-4, 6-4 win over Ivan Dodig, Nishikori followed up with a 6-3, 6-1 win over Spain’s Garcia-Lopez on Tuesday. He has now dropped a total of 12 games in his two matches at the Mutua Madrid Masters.
“I feel very strong right now, especially after winning Barcelona. I had the injury in Miami that was very unfortunate. Hopefully I can stay healthy for a while now and do well in every tournament. I hope I can qualify for the [Barclays ATP World Tour Finals]. That’s going to be a big goal.”
This is just the second time these two competitors will meet on the professional tour, with Nishikori leading the series 1-0 with a victory in Tokyo in 2012. While this is the first time they meet on clay, Nishikori is coming off a title win in Barcelona and has clearly made the necessary adjustments on the red dirt this season, while Raonic is yet to prove that he can make deep runs in clay court Masters events.
Prediction: Kei Nishikori in Three Sets