TennisSection previews the 2021 Dubai Open as David Goffin (5) meets Kei Nishikori in the Second Round on Tuesday, March 16th 2021.
Will Kei Nishikori continue to build on this momentum as he looks to comeback to his best level after over a year away from tennis due to injury? Will David Goffin regain some of the momentum which saw him win the 2021 Montpellier Open title a few weeks ago? These two are two of the best returners in the game, and we are definitely in for a long and entertaining match. Who will come out on top and book their spot in the Third Round?
David Goffin has been playing some solid tennis recently, much better than what we had seen from him in the second half of 2020 and in the first month and a half of 2021. Goffin is always dangerous when he is in form, and he knows that if he wants to continue staying in the top 15 players in the world, he needs to deliver more often on the big stage. Goffin was able to win the 2021 Montpellier Open a few weeks ago, and this has definitely given him some confidence that he still has the game to compete with the increasing competition which is coming into the ATP Tour. David Goffin has experience, power, speed, and precision, but can he come through this second round match against an opponent who has more in all of those areas of the game in Kei Nishikori?
Kei Nishikori is continuing to improve his game and it is great to see him playing at this level. Nishikori was out of the ATP Tour for over one year from 2019 to late 2020 due to injuries, and he is slowly but surely getting himself back at the top of his game. Nishikori met Reilly Opelka in the first round here in Dubai, and was able to maintain his composure after losing the first set. Nishikori beat the big server that is Opelka in 3 sets 3-6/6-3/6-4. Nishikori stuck to his gameplan that he had when coming into the match, which was to return as many balls as possible and wear Opelka down. Eventually, this was able to work as he had planned. Nishikori will be very confident after that match, but he will have to be prepared for a draining match against a great returner in David Goffin.
Kei Nishikori and David Goffin have met three times before, with Kei Nishikori leading the head to head 3-0. They have only ever met in 2015, when Kei Nishikori was on top of his game, and David Goffin was not as solid as he is nowadays. Since then, their careers have gone a bit all over the place. Kei has not been able to find the consistency in the last 2 years which he would have desired due to injuries, but he has been showing some great signs of a comeback with the performances he has been putting on in tournaments. David Goffin has been a very tough opponent for anyone to meet over the last few years, but recently has slumped in form and it currently trying to rise up again.
I expect a very tight match between these two players, and they are going to play some very long and entertaining rallies as they are two of the best returners in the game. However, I believe that Kei Nishikori has shown more consistency over the last 2 weeks. David Goffin played great in Montpellier a few weeks ago, winning the title, but since then he has slumped again. Unless Goffin plays like he did in Montpellier, I see Kei Nishikori making his way to the Third Round of the 2021 Dubai Open.
Free Tennis Pick and Prediction: Kei Nishikori to win.