Kei Nishikori vs. Pierre-Hugues Herbert
|Date & Time||Wednesday April 17, 2019, 5:00 AM (EDT)|
Monte Carlo Country Club
The Line: -- Over/Under:
Kei Nishikori and Pierre-Hugues Herbert meet in the second round of the 2019 tennis Monte Carlo.
Kei Nishikori enters this tournament after a first match exit in Miami and has lost four of his last six matches overall. The last time we saw Nishikori, he was broken five times and couldn’t take advantage of his opponents second serve. Nishikori has been up and down all season long, so there’s no telling which version you’re going to get in this tournament. The good news for Nishikori backers is that he made the final of Monte Carlo last year and is 7-2 at this event all-time. So, there’s reason for optimism and positive vibes that this can be a turning point in what has been a rollercoaster of a season. Nishikori has won six of his last eight matches on clay court.
Pierre-Hugues Herbert is coming off a straight sets win over Fernando Verdasco that took 20 games to decide. In the victory, Herbert won 88 percent of his first serve points and 46 percent of his second serve points. Herbert won 69 percent of his total service points and converted on three of his four break points. Herbert dominated his first serve and even sprinkled in seven aces, a formula that gives him a fighting chance to make an even deeper run in this tournament. Herbert has a chance to win back-to-back matches for the first time since making the final in Montpellier. Herbert has won three of his last five matches on clay court.
These two have played twice and Nishikori won both matches, including the most recent meeting this year in Rotterdam. The other match was in 2016 in Miami. This will obviously be the first meeting on clay court.
Nishikori has been a bit of a hit or miss player this year, but he did make the final of this tournament last year and enters this match with plenty of rest. A fresh Nishikori is always dangerous considering how much court he covers and his defensive ability. Herbert is obviously more than capable of competing in this match if he plays the way he did in his opening match, but he’s also thrown in many stinkers lately where his serve completely falls apart.
I trust a rested Nishikori to get the job done here.