TennisSection previews the 2021 Lyon Open as Gael Monfils (5) meets Yoshihito Nishioka in the Round of 16 on Thursday May 20th, 2021.
Can fifth seeded Frenchman Gael Monfils end his run of miserable form with a strong week here at the 2021 Lyon Open? Or will unseeded Japanese player Yoshihito Nishioka play spoiler and get the upset? Monfils has been in uncharacteristically poor form so far in 2021 and will be hoping that playing at home in France will be the start of a recovery. Can he get the win here and advance to his first Quarter-Final of the season?
Gael Monfils is the fifth seed here at the 2021 Lyon Open, and is a true superstar of the men’s game, being one of the most popular players on the ATP Tour. Fans the world over love him for his flashy game and on court antics, but he has always backed it up with a big game. However, he has endured a historic run of poor results which has seen his ranking slide from number six to fourteen in the ATP rankings, and had it not been for the rankings freeze, he would be much, much lower. His win in the Second Round here over Thiago Wild was his first victory in over a year, after enduring a run of eight successive defeats. The flashy Frenchman will have been delighted to get the win there, and will enter this match against Yoshihito Nishioka as the favorite.
Yoshihito Nishioka is currently ranked #60 in the ATP world rankings, and has built a reputation as a very solid baseline player. After having a very poor clay court season thus far, he entered his First Round match here against Ugo Humbert as the underdog, but was able to claim a three set victory. He has had better results on hard courts throughout his career, and it is puzzling that he struggles on clay. This was only his second match win in his past seven on clay, so he enters this match against Gael Monfils in similarly poor form. While he doesn’t have quite as poor a record as his opponent in recent times, he will yet again be the underdog here at the 2021 Lyon Open due to his opponent’s top 10 pedigree.
This will be the second meeting between the two players on the ATP Tour, with Yoshihito Nishioka leading the head to head series 1-0. They played each other in 2019 in Davis Cup, with the Japanese player claiming a straight-sets win on hard courts. This is a very difficult match to predict due to the players’ form. If this match was a year ago I would predict a comfortable win for the Frenchman, but after the year that he has had it is difficult to back him. I do think that this match will be a battle, and should go right down to the wire. Despite his form, I will give the slight edge to Monfils here. It is simply a matter of time before he breaks out of his funk, and here at the 2021 Lyon Open may be the place that it happens. Gael Monfils to get a tough win, advancing to his first ATP Quarter-Final in 16 months.
Free Tennis Pick and Prediction: Gael Monfils to win.