TennisSection previews the 2021 Washington Open as Kei Nishikori takes on Sam Querrey in the Round of 64 on Monday, August 2nd, 2021.
Will Kei Nishikori back up his Olympic results with a nice win over Querrey? Will Sam Querrey pull of the very slight upset and move on? Monday’s match will make for an interesting one, as we have two veterans on the tour who have been playing each other since 2008. Who will move on to the Round of 32 at the 2021 Washington Open?
Kei Nishikori made the quarterfinals in his Olympics run, a pretty good result considering his results at big tournaments of late. If there had to be a favorite for this match, I would put Kei as the slight favorite over Sam, but they are quite literally right next to each other on the ATP rankings, at 69 and 70. The only issue I foresee with Kei is what happened to him in his quarterfinals match vs Djokovic back in Tokyo, his mental state didn’t seem to be quite right, seeing as he lost 6-2 6-0, despite striking the ball rather well earlier on in the match. Despite contesting with Djokovic for the points, he would always be the one who came up short, showing he still has some road to cover before he has a good confidence level about him. Despite this result though, Nishikori is an experienced player and should be able to recover nicely for his next tournament here at the 2021 Washington Open.
Sam Querrey is coming into this match with not a lot of confidence, having lost his last three first-round matches. Despite these very recent results, just before that and around Wimbledon, he was showing promise, making good strides on the ATP Tour. In order to defeat Nishikori, he will have to find his great service game and make sure he dictates with his forehand around the court using many angles and mixing in some power. He will also have to stay with Kei and make little unforced errors, as his opponent will be great at that as per usual. Sam is serving quite well, having gone 36-2 in his last match in aces to double faults. However, he still did come up short in 3 sets and 2 tiebreakers, having earned almost no break points and getting unlucky in both of those tiebreakers. If he’s able to reset his mind to focus on this match and not worry about what could have or should have been, then I think he has a good shot, especially if Nishikori is feeling off about his game.
Kei Nishikori and Sam Querrey have played 10 times before, with Kei Nishikori leading the head to head 6-4. A rather close head to head for quite a few meetings. Both players should definitely know each other’s games, despite not having played each other for 3 years now. Like I said, I won’t be surprised if Sam Querrey pulls off this match, but Nishikori should still be feeling more confident, just considering recent results, where Kei defeated fantastic players like Andrey Rublev despite being destroyed by Novak Djokovic, whereas Querrey lost in the first round of smaller tournaments 3 times in a row. Just because of recent results and especially how and where they took place, Kei is the man I’m picking to move on to the Round of 32 at the 2021 Washington Open.
Free Tennis Pick and Prediction: Kei Nishikori to win in 3 sets.
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