TennisSection previews the 2021 Rome Open as Kei Nishikori meets Fabio Fognini in the Round of 64 on Monday, May 10th, 2021.
Who will come out on top in this very exciting encounter between two of the most experienced players on the ATP Tour at the moment? Will it be the local favourite, Fabio Fognini, or will it be Kei Nishikori who is looking to show how much he has improved since he last played in Rome last year? Both players can win it, but only one will make their way to the Round of 32 at the 2021 Rome Open. Who will it be?
Fabio Fognini had a tough week last week at the 2021 Madrid Open, losing to his fellow younger Italian, Matteo Berrettini, in straight sets 3-6/4-6. Lets not kid outselves here, Fabio Fognini just does not seem to be anywhere near the level required to actually compete in the later stages of these big tournaments, but he has rather become a first two rounds player. Fabio is still an amazing player don’t get me wrong, but he just does not have the consistency, nor the patience, required to remain in these tough matches with very in form opponents. Perhaps here in Italy at the 2021 Rome Open Fognini will raise his level, but I wonder if he can against someone as good as Kei Nishikori.
Kei Nishikori will be both happy and disappointed with his week in Madrid last week, beating the always tough Karen Khachanov in the Round of 64, but losing in two quick sets against Alexander Zverev in his following match. Kei Nishikori made his comeback on the ATP Tour last year at this specific event, and he will want to come back here at the 2021 Rome Open to show everyone how much he has improved in less than a year (as the tournament was played in September last year). Kei is one of the best movers on the court, and he is also great on clay, and I am sure he will be confident in his ability to beat the likes of Fabio Fognini.
Kei Nishikori and Fabio Fognini have met 3 times before, with Kei Nishirkori leading the head to head 2-1. They last met in 2017 where Fognini won in straight sets. However, when looking at both the surface, and their recent form, I have to back Kei Nishikori to get the job done here at the 2021 Rome Open. Fabio Fognini is at home and loves playing in front of a loving crowd, but he has become too passive in his game, whilst Kei Nishikori has continued to work hard to get close to his peak. It will be tight, but Kei Nishikori will win.
Free Tennis Pick and Prediction: Kei Nishikori to Win.