Kei Nishikori vs. Benoit Paire 2018 French Open Tennis Pick, Preview, Odds, Prediction
Paire vs. Nishikori
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TV: Tennis, NBC
Kei Nishikori and Benoit Paire meet in the second round of the 2018 tennis French Open.
Kei Nishikori is coming off a straight sets win over Maxime Janvier that took 32 games to decide. In the victory, Nishikori won 85 percent of his first serve points and 61 percent of his second serve points. Nishikori won 74 percent of his total service points in the victory and had just 14 unforced errors. Nishikori has had an up and down season overall, but he’s been playing some of his best tennis since the Rome Masters and has shown flashes of being the top-10 player he was a couple of years ago. It’s just about health for Nishikori, as that wrist injury seems to flair up whenever it wants, making him very ineffective. Nishikori has lost before the third round of a grand slam once since 2016. Nishikori has split his last eight matches on clay court.
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Benoit Paire is coming off a four sets win over Roberto Carballés Baena that took 42 games to decide. In the victory, Paire won 84 percent of his first serve points and 45 percent of his second serve points. Paire won 64 percent of his total service points and broke eight times, but he must play cleaner tennis in order to make a deeper run. Paire managed to hit 75 unforced errors and got almost nothing on his second serve. If Paire is going to make a rare deep grand slam run, he can’t leave the door open for his opponent as much as he’s done recently. Paire has lost before the third round of a grand slam in seven of his last nine appearances. Paire has won five of his last eight matches on clay court.
These two have played five times and Nishikori has won three of those matches. The most recent match was in the 2016 Barcelona Open, a match Nishikori won in straight sets. Nishikori is 2-0 against Paire on clay court.
Paire would have lost his first round match if he played somebody better than Carballés Baena, as you shouldn’t win when you hit over 70 unforced errors. When Nishikori isn’t having issues with his wrist, he’s looked fairly sharp and has cashed quite a bit as an underdog the last month or so.
Nishikori should win this match in three or four sets.