Kei Nishikori vs Pierre-Hugues Herbert - ATP Marseille Open First Round
Monday March 8th, 2021 / TBD
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Sixth seeded Kei Nishikori of Japan will face unseeded Frenchman Pierre-Hugues Herbert in the First Round of the 2021 Marseille Open ATP event. The match is scheduled to be played on Monday March 8th, 2021 at a time yet to be determined. Who will win and advance to the Round of 16?
Kei Nishikori is a former top 5 player who has struggled in recent years due to injury and loss of form. He has slowly been climbing his way back up the rankings and currently sits at #45. After a long run of early exits since his return to the tour he finally had some success in Rotterdam, reaching the Quarter-Finals by impressively defeating Felix Auger-Aliassime and Alex De Minaur in the process. He will be delighted to have found some form and will be looking to use the momentum generated in Rotterdam in Marseille. He is a very solid baseline player who gives very little away and has always been an elite mover on the court. In his current form he will favored to make a deep run at this event and enters this match as the favorite.
Pierre-Hugues Herbert is currently ranked #93 in the world, a far cry from his career-high of #36. After a breakthrough year in 2019 he has largely failed to live up to expectations with a string of poor results. He has started the 2021 season poorly, winning only one main draw match on the ATP Tour in four tournaments played. On a good day he is a very tough opponent to face with his unique net-rushing game style. He has a very strong serve and due to his doubles prowess is very comfortable both at this baseline and in transition. It will be very tough for him to find some form here against a difficult opponent in Nishikori and he will have to play his best tennis to even have a chance here.
I expect Kei Nishikori to win this match. He is in very good form at the moment and his confidence is sky-high for the first time in a while. While Herbert is capable of good tennis, we have not seen that from him in a very long time and it is unlikely that he will be able to cause the Japanese #1 any problems. Expect Kei Nishikori to get off to a strong start and to wrap this match up in straight sets.