Olympics 2021: Kei Nishikori vs Ilya Ivashka preview, head-to-head & prediction

Kei Nishikori
Kei Nishikori
Nurein Ahmed

Match details

Fixture: Kei Nishikroi [JPN] vs Ilya Ivashka [BLR]

Date: 28 July 2021

Tournament: Olympics 2021

Round: Third round (Round of 16)

Venue: Ariake Tennis Park, Tokyo, Japan

Category: Olympic Games

Surface: Outdoor hard

Match timing: Approx. 1 pm local time, 9.30 am IST, 4 am GMT, 12 am EST

Live telecast: USA - NBC & Peacock TV | UK - BBC TV | India - Sony Liv

Kei Nishikori vs Ilya Ivashka preview

Kei Nishikori will continue his quest for an Olympic medal on home soil when he takes on unseeded Belarusian Ilya Ivashka in the third round of the Tokyo Games on Wednesday.

World No. 69 Nishikori was not expected to reach this stage of the tournament after he drew fifth-seeded Russian Andrey Rublev in the first round. But he rolled back the years and snapped his two-year losing streak against top-10 opposition with a routine 6-3, 6-4 win over Rublev. He followed it up with a three-set win over first-time Olympian Marcos Giron of the USA.

Ilya Ivashka, meanwhile, has carried his rich vein of form into the Tokyo Olympics. Ivashka has enjoyed a steady climb up the rankings in recent months and enters his third-round match against Nishikori as the higher-ranked player.

Ivashka defeated newlywed Frenchman Gael Monfils in the first round and then summoned all of his mental fortitude to down Mikhail Kukushkin in three sets in the second.

Kei Nishikori vs Ilya Ivashka head-to-head

Kei Nishikori and Ilya Ivashka have never faced each other at any level, therefore the head-to-head between the pair currently stands at 0-0.

Kei Nishikori vs Ilya Ivashka prediction

Kei Nishikori is attempting to become a national treasure this week in the wake of Naomi Osaka's shock exit. The same could be said of Ilya Ivashka, who is the lone Belarusian left in singles following Aryna Sabalenka's surprise second-round defeat.

Ivashka has played some of the best tennis of his career in recent months. He blasted his way into the fourth round of Wimbledon before losing to the in-form Italian Matteo Berrettini.

Ilya Ivashka
Ilya Ivashka

He has carried that momentum into Tokyo, where he has registered two impressive victories. But If the Belarusian intends to extend his stay in the Japanese city, he will need to hit his spots consistently with his monstrous first serve against Nishikori.

Nishikori is a versatile baseliner with a reliable double-hander that cannot be easily punctured. He also has an extra incentive to perform, considering he is playing on home soil.

While he looked far from his vintage best against Giron, he is undoubtedly the superior player when compared to Ivashka and should hold an edge over the dangerous Belarusian.

Prediction: Kei Nishikori to win in three sets.

Edited by Arvind Sriram
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