Japanese No. 1 Kei Nishikori is set to begin his campaign at the All England Club and where he will be faced with the task of beating Italy’s Simone Bolelli, whom he has faced once previously on the professional tour. Their sole meeting took place at last year’s Wimbledon Championships, even though their last one took place in the third round of that event. It will be interesting to see if this year’s contest is as competitive as the previous one, as Nishikori leads the head-to-head series 1-0 after fending off a legitimate five-set threat from Bolelli.
Following a quarter-final showing in Paris at the French Open, all looked well for Nishikori as he played in Halle to prepare himself for the grass court Slam.
“I don’t feel any pressure from Japan, you know, because I live in the United States,” he told a news conference at the All England Club on Saturday. “In the match, I just try to focus what I have to do. I try not to think too much about outside things. I mean, I feel pressure sometimes, but I think I’m handling really well.”
Nishikori will come up against Simone Bolelli, who has had ample preparation on grass ahead of the Championships. Bolelli reached the first round of the Aegon Championships following two qualifying matches and then had an even better week thereafter when he reached the quarter-final round in Nottingham, where he lost to Marcos Baghdatis.
This marks the second time these two competitors will cross paths on the professional tour and could make for an interesting contest if Bolelli can once again find the magic he possessed during their last meeting. Even if he does come in form, Nishikori is a ruthless competitor who had proven to be worthy of his ranking in the upper echelon of the men’s game. The truth is that the Japanese star’s injury could also play a factor in their latest encounter, which does not bode well for his chances of a deep run at this year’s event, even if he gets past the durable Bolelli.
Prediction: Kei Nishikori in Four Sets