Fixture: Kei Nishikori vs Lorenzo Musetti
Date: 17 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: 8.30 pm CEST, 12 am IST
Live telecast: USA - Tennis Channel / ESPN | India - Sony Six
Kei Nishikori vs Lorenzo Musetti preview
After being sidelined for most of the year due to injury and COVID-19, Kei Nishikori finally registered a victory on the tour in the first round of the Rome Masters on Monday. The Japanese got the better of Albert Ramos-Vinolas, and will now take on teenage Italian sensation Lorenzo Musetti.
The manner of the victory was even more impressive for the young Musetti, as he managed to bagel the Swiss - a feat not many players can boast of. Wawrinka had no answer to the Italian’s exceptional groundstrokes - especially on the backhand wing - which left him flat-footed throughout the match.
Kei Nishikori on the other hand was made to work hard for his win. Ramos-Vinolas is not a pushover on clay, and as expected he gave a good fight to the Japanese. In the end, however, Nishikori made good use of his wide serve and net-play to close out the match.
Kei Nishikori vs Lorenzo Musetti head-to-head
The head-to-head between both players is tied at 0-0 as Kei Nishikori and Lorenzo Musetti are yet to play each other on the tour.
Kei Nishikori vs Lorenzo Musetti prediction
This is a very difficult match to call. While at one end Lorenzo Musetti is playing some fearless tennis, at the other we have one of the most experienced players on tour in Kei Nishikori.
The surface will not be a big differentiating factor in this match-up as both Nishikori and Musetti enjoy playing on clay. The Japanese in particular has a pretty impressive record on red dirt, having played seven finals on the surface.
This match will likely boil down to how well Musetti serves and how effective Nishikori is in moving his opponent around. The Italian has a bigger serve, but at the same time he will be up against a fantastic returner.
Nishikori will have to tread carefully on his returns though, as Musetti’s one-handed backhand can dispatch short returns with ease. What can help him dominate the teenager is his own backhand, which he can use to dictate play from the baseline.
Lorenzo Musetti comes into this match brimming with confidence and could perhaps take an early lead. But if Nishikori finds his footing in time, he is likely to break down the Italian's game eventually.
Prediction: Kei Nishikori to win in three sets.Published 16 Sep 2020, 18:46 IST