Andrey Rublev vs Kei Nishikori
July 24, 2021 11:00 pm EDT
Andrey Rublev meets Kei Nishikori in the first round of Olympics 2020 on Saturday, July 24th, 2021.
Will it be Kei Nishikori who comes out on top in his home country to give all the fans watching at home pride and joy in their star, or will Andrey Rublev come out here and be able to win a tough match against an experienced opponent?
Andrey Rublev is the much higher ranked opponent coming into this match, being a mainstay in the top 10 now for nearly a year and showing us all week in and week out that he is definitely a force to be reckoned with on the ATP Tour. However, Rublev also knows that he is going to have to be at his absolute best as he meets an in form and very determined Kei Nishikori who is playing in his home Olympics. Andrey Rublev 90% of the time would win this matchup in a main ATP Tour tournament, but it will be much harder here at the Olympics.
Kei Nishikori will be so excited to come into the Tokyo Olympics to show all of his home fans that he is still their best player and try and give it his all for them. Kei would have loved an easier start to the draw, but he has been paired against Andrey Rublev so he knows he has a battle right from the start. It is not often that you get to play in the Olympics and also be in your home country, so Kei will have a lot of expectation on his shoulders. But we have seen that when Kei is under pressure, he more often than not comes up with the goods.
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This is going to be the 2nd meeting between both players, with Kei Nishikori having won their only prior encounter back in 2018. Since then, Rublev has improved drastically there is no shock to that, but Kei has gone downwards slightly due to injury. However, in the last year, Kei showed great promise in his game, and I believe he will get an upset win under his belt here to show us that he can still compete with the best in the world, especially as he has had a lot of experience at the Olympics, winning Bronze in Rio in 2016.