Fixture: Kei Nishikori vs Albert Ramos-Vinolas
Date: 14 September 2020
Tournament: Italian Open 2020
Round: First round (Round of 64)
Venue: Rome, Italy
Category: ATP Masters 1000
Surface: Red clay
Prize money: €3,465,045
Match timing: 4.30 pm CEST, 8 pm IST
Live Telecast: USA – Tennis Channel / ESPN | India – Sony Ten 2
Kei Nishikori vs Albert Ramos-Vinolas preview
Kei Nishikori has had a really tough 12 months. First, an injury to his right elbow kept him out from the Australian Open as well as the ATP Cup. The Japanese player then tested positive for COVID-19 just weeks prior to the 2020 US Open.
He recovered just before it began, but the 30-year-old decided against putting his body through a rigorous best-of-five tournament immediately after his return.
Nishikori competed in Kitzbuhel instead, but had a undesired result in his first game back. He was knocked out in his tournament opener by Miomir Kecmanovic despite being one set up, losing 6-4, 4-6, 2-6.
Nishikori will now be eager to gather some much needed momentum at the Italian Open ahead of this year's Roland Garros.
Albert Ramos-Vinolas has also had a tough time since the tour resumed, losing his opening games at the US Open as well as Kitzbuhel.
Ramos-Vinolas had had a good year up until the lockdown though, reaching the semifinal of the Chile Open and the quarterfinal of the Cordoba Open in early 2020. The Spaniard is likely to go all guns blazing to try and take advantage of Nishikori's lack of rhythm.
Kei Nishikori vs Albert Ramos-Vinolas head-to-head
Kei Nishikori and Albert Ramos-Vinolas have met five times on tour so far, with Nishikori leading the head-to-head 4-1. However, the two have not faced off in recent years, with their latest fixture being the Round of 64 at the 2016 Olympics. Nishikori won that game in straight sets.
Their last encounter on clay was at the Barcelona Open in 2013. Ramos-Vinolas got the upper hand then, winning 6-4, 7-6(4).
Nishikori won all three of their encounters in 2012.
The duo's head-to-head on clay is 2-1 in favor of Nishikori right now.
Kei Nishikori vs Albert Ramos-Vinolas prediction
Kei Nishikori, the No. 6 seed at this tournament, will be desperate to make a mark after the nightmare start at Kitzbuhel. Albert Ramos-Vinolas too will be eager to get back to the promising results he showed at the beginning of the year.
Both players have solid baseline play, with excellent groundstrokes on both flanks. While the Spaniard will rely on his topspin-heavy forehand, Nishikori will hope his bullet-like backhand serves him well in the game.
Prediction: Kei Nishikori to win in three sets.Published 14 Sep 2020, 04:27 IST