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Rome Masters: Kei Nishikori vs Lorenzo Musetti preview, head-to-head & prediction | Italian Open 2020

Kei Nishikori
Kei Nishikori
ANALYST
Modified 16 Sep 2020, 23:41 IST
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Match details

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

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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 18-year-old stunned everyone by knocking out three-time Grand Slam champion Stan Wawrinka in the first round.

Lorenzo Musetti
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

Kei Nishikori in action at the 2020 Rome Masters
Kei Nishikori in action at the 2020 Rome Masters

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
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