Fixture: Grigor Dimitrov vs Yoshihito Nishioka
Date: 16 September 2020
Tournament: Italian Open 2020
Round: Second round (Round of 32)
Venue: Rome, Italy
Category: ATP Masters 1000
Surface: Red clay
Prize money: €3,465,045
Match timing: 4.15 pm CEST, 7.45 pm IST
Live telecast: USA - Tennis Channel / ESPN | India - Sony Six
Grigor Dimitrov vs Yoshihito Nishioka preview
Grigor Dimitrov came through a potentially tricky first-round encounter rather unscathed. The Bulgarian No. 1 fought some early jitters and a confident start by Gianluca Mager to close out a 7-5, 6-1 victory.
Dimitrov managed to find his best tennis at the start of the second set, firing big serves and baseline winners at will. He even began to look better in his footwork, and will now be looking to carry forward that momentum into the next round.
The Bulgarian next takes on Japan's Yoshihito Nishioka - who snapped a losing streak in the first round against Miomir Kecmanovic.
Nishioka was having a good season up until the tour's suspension back in March. He had just reached the finals in Delray Beach, but since the resumption of tennis he hasn't won a single match.
In that sense, Nishioka did well to overcome his opening round challenge here in Rome. He is great mover across the court and enjoys long rallies, which does make his lack of success of the surface a little surprising.
But despite not having had a lot of great results on clay, the Japanese will be sensing an opportunity to score a big win against Dimitrov - who has himself had a bit of a hit-and-miss season since the return.
Grigor Dimitrov vs Yoshihito Nishioka head-to-head
Grigor Dimitrov leads the head-to-head against Yoshihito Nishioka by a margin of 1-0. The Bulgarian defeated Nishioka with an easy 6-4, 6-3 scoreline on the hard-courts of Brisbane in 2019.
Grigior Dimitrov vs Yoshihito Nishioka prediction
Grigor Dimitrov enters this one as the favorite on paper. The Bulgarian needs a win here much more than his opponent, especially given the fact that the French Open is only a couple of weeks away.
Yoshihito Nishioka, on the other hand, can play a lot more freely given that he has very little to lose. He will also likely fancy his chances more as the match progresses; if he can find a way to stay in the rallies long enough to extract errors from Dimitrov, opportunities might present themselves.
The Bulgarian will need to be solid, especially at the start of each set. Given his recent record in three- and five-set matches, even the slightest inkling of a deciding set could spell trouble for Dimitrov.
Prediction: Grigor Dimitrov to win in two tight sets.Published 16 Sep 2020, 01:08 IST