Japanese No. 1 Kei Nishikori and Russian No. 1 Mikhail Youzhny will meet in the second round of the Miami Open on Saturday morning. This is just the second time that they will cross paths on the tour, with Nishikori leading the Head to Head series 1-0.
At last week’s Indian Wells Masters event, Nishikori began his campaign against Ryan Harrison, whom he defeated in straight sets. He would then beat Fernando Verdasco in three sets before falling to Feliciano Lopez in the fourth round. It was a surprising exit given his deep runs in all previous tournaments this season. He will now receive a bye into the second round of the Miami Open.
“I really like this tournament,” said Nishikori, who was upset by Feliciano Lopez in last week’s BNP Paribas Open fourth round. “Hopefully I can play good tennis this week and next. I did really well last year, and I have been playing good tennis.”
“These are tough conditions, really hot,” the 25 year old said. “I’ve been practising these two days. I try to do whatever I can to not get injured. It’s really important to stay healthy here.”
In an entertaining opening round match, Mikhail Youzhny defeated Andrey Golubev in three sets, where he was forced to rally from an early defict to secure the victory in the decider. Following an hour and 56 minutes of play, the Russian won the match 4-6, 6-2, 6-3. He struck four aces, won 79% of his first service points and converted four break points to secure the victory.
This is just the second time that these two competitors will cross paths on the professional tour, with Nishikori leading the series 1-0. The Japanese No. 1 won their only meeting back in 2013, when he defeated Youzhny on grass in Halle. He will now look to go 2-0 and earn his first hard court win against the Russian.
Prediction: Kei Nishikori in Three Sets