Following an impressive opening start with their respective wins over Peter Gojowczyk and Quentin Halys, Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Japan’s Kei Nishikori are all set to lock horns against each other in their Round 2 match at the French Open.
In what promises to be a fascinating contest between the two long-timers, the Japanese No.1 definitely has an edge over his French opponent. But being the home-hope, Tsonga will undoubdtebly receive overwhelming support from his home crowd.
The upcoming clash on the Parisian clay would just be their second match against each other on clay, with Tsonga pulling off a sensational victory over his Japanese opponent in the quarter-final in five grueling sets the last time these two met each other at Roland Garros, way back in 2015.
Nishikori leads Tsonga by a margin of 5-3 in terms of their head-to-head record. On both the occasions when Nishikori and Tsonga stood on either side of the net in the Grand Slam events, the outcome of the contest was decided over five sets.
While the 2008 Australian Open finalist Tsonga has been indifferent with his form throughout his career, Nishikori has indeed come a long way since their last meeting at Roland Garros in 2015.
Heading into this French Open, neither Nishikori nor Tsonga have had a great season on clay so far and both of them will be desperate to create an impression on the on-going clay season.
At the three most recent Grand Slams, Nishikori has shown a bit of consistency with his twin quarter-final and one semi-final appearance. But, at the upcoming French Open, the Japanese will definitely be expecting more from himself. The 7th seed has never crossed the quarter-final stage at Roland Garros and it remains to be seen how he fares at this year’s Grand Slam on clay. However, in the form of Tsonga, an interesting, tricky and equally dangerous challenge awaits Nishikori.
Throughout his career, Tsonga has lived with the tag of being a giant-killer. However, he has never shown that consistency that is essential to succeed at the highest level.
Nonetheless, Tsonga is a good player on clay and at the age of 34, has nothing to lose, which is what makes the Frenchman even more dangerous and Kei Nishikori would be wary of his unpredictable opponent.
At the French Open against Tsonga, Kei Nishikori, the under-rated talent of this generation, starts as a favorite to advance to the third round in spite of the tricky challenge his French opponent brings to the fore.
One thing is for sure, the clash between two quality players like Nishikori and Tsonga as early in the second round promises to entertain us with some fascinating and breathtaking tennis.
Prediction: Kei Nishikori to win in 4 sets.