It was a tough start for Kei Nishikori at the Wimbledon Championships, as he needed five sets to find his way into the second round of the tournament. However, now that he is there, he will encounter Santiago Giraldo, whom he has met on six previous occasions on the professional tour and leads the head-to-head series 5-1.
Seeded fifth at this year’s tournament, Nishikori had to battle hard to work his way out of a tense five set thriller against France’s Simone Bolelli. He managed to take command in the fifth and final set to close out the contest 6-3, 6-7(4), 6-2, 3-6, 6-3. It was his serve that made the difference late in the encounter.
“I got couple good matches before coming here in Halle,” he said. “I’m sure I need more matches to get more experience. And also to win the matches, it’s important for my confidence. I’m sure that I’m playing good on grass now.
“I’m always excited to play on this tournaments, on the grass court. Maybe the result is not coming yet, but I start feeling more confidence playing on here,” he said. “So I hope it’s better result will come.”
In his opening round match on Monday, Giraldo defeated Joao Souza in straight sets to set up his encounter with the top-ranked Japanese player. He beat Souza 6-4, 6-3, 6-2.
This marks the seventh time these two competitors will meet on the professional tour, with Nishikori leading the head-to-head series 4-1. Considering Nishikori’s lack of form and injury worries, it is not out of the realm of possibility that Giraldo may upset Nishikori on this surface. However, the Japanese No. 1 has won their last four consecutive encounters in straight sets and should have little trouble extending that to five consecutive wins, even if he is not at his best .
Prediction: Kei Nishikori in Four Sets