Following a disappointing conclusion to his clay court season, Japanese No. 1 Kei Nishikori is looking to put his best foot forward this week at the Gerry Weber Open in Halle, starting with a compelling clash against Gael Monfils. This marks the first time these two competitors will meet on the professional tour, and should make for an entertaining contest on Wednesday afternoon.
After breaking into the Top 10 for the first tim in his career at No. 9, Nishikori failed to keep the momentum rolling after his title win in Barcelona and his finals appearance in Madrid, as he would lose his Paris opener to Martin Klizan in straight sets. Overall, it has been a strong season for Nishikori, who is now partnered with Michael Chang to help improve his skill set.
Nishikori has a 27-6 match report on the season, which includes two ATP World Tour titles at the U.S. National Indoor Tennis Championships and the Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell.
“I have been practising well on grass in Halle and hopefully I can do well. I’ve worked on minor changes, being more aggressive at the back of the court and in coming to the net. It’s not easy to play on clay and then switch to grass-courts.”
France’s Gael Monfils rebounded from his odd conclusion to his quarter-final match at Roland Garros with a straight sets victory over Germany’s Benjamin Becker. The Frenchman won the match 6-1, 7-5, where he hit 9 aces, 2 double faults, and won 84% of his points on first serve. It was a straightforward match that he won in 1 hour and 14 minutes to set up the intriguing second round match.
This marks the first time these two competitors will cross paths on the ATP World Tour. It should be an interesting match, and one that could lead to a surprising result. While Nishikori is the more consistent performer, Monfils has already had the benefit of a match in Halle, which could benefit him against the Japanese No. 1 tomorrow.
Prediction: Kei Nishikori in Three Sets