For the first time in nearly two years, Kei Nishikori and Nicolas Almagro will cross paths on the professional tour, this time to determine who will advance to the second round of the tournament. The pair split their two previous meetings on the ATP World Tour and will now play the rubber match on a much grander stage. Check out the Nishikori v Almagro Head to Head.
The Japanese No. 1 began his season with high hopes and looked promising during the opening week of the year. At the Brisbane International, Nishikori defeated Steve Johnson and Bernard Tomic to reach the semi-final round of the tournament. However, he would soon fall to Canada’s Milos Raonic in a razor-thin match that ended 7-6(4), 6-7(4), 6-7(4).
Unlike his upcoming opponent, Spain’s Nicolas Almagro lost his only professional match of the year so far. In Sydney, the recently injury-prone Almagro lost in straight sets to Uruguay’s Pablo Cuevas 6-7(5), 4-6. He looked lethargic and rusty from his lengthy spell on the sidelines.
This marks the third time these two competitors will meet on the professional tour, with the series tied at 1-1. Their first meeting took place in the quarter-final stage of Kuala Lumpar in 2011, which Nishikori emerged victorious in. Their second meeting took place in the in the Tokyo Open, which Almagro won in three sets. While the series may appear close, they are currently on completely different career trajectories. With that in mind, there is little doubt that Nishikori will emerge victorious in this third encounter.
Prediction: Kei Nishikori in Straight Sets