World number 19 Felix Auger-Aliassime has a challenge on his hands when he takes on the 43rd-ranked Kei Nishikori in the first round of the 2021 ATP Rotterdam Open on Monday, February 29, with the match likely to begin at around 11 am local time. Get the live streaming options of this Felix Auger-Aliassime v Kei Nishikori match along with its preview, head to head, and tips here.
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Felix Auger-Aliassime v Kei Nishikori Head to Head
Their only previous outing came on the clay courts of the Barcelona Open in 2019 where Nishikori won 6-1, 6-3 to move into the quarterfinals.
Auger-Aliassime with a Solid Start to the Season
While the 20-year-old Auger-Aliassime is yet to break his ATP finals jinx, having been to a bunch of them and won none, his game has shown signs of improvement with time. The start to 2021 is a prime example of that with the Canadian shrugging off a mixed 2020 season and rustiness to deliver two solid performances so far.
The first competition he participated in was the Murray River Open in the lead-up to the Australian Open and Auger-Aliassime made it to the final there. A 6-2, 6-3 loss at the hands of Dan Evans followed soon after, denying him his maiden ATP title triumph, which might have affected his confidence a tad but that wasn’t the case in the year’s first Grand Slam which followed.
With straight-set wins over Cedrik-Marcel Stebe, James Duckworth and fellow Canadian Denis Shapovalov, Auger-Aliassime reached the fourth round of the Australian Open. And up by two sets to love, he had a good chance to make it to his first ever Grand Slam quarterfinal but a stunning capitulation followed as Aslan Karatsev won the next three to crash the Canadian party.
Now, two weeks on, Auger-Aliassime will hope he can put the disappointment of those two results behind him and kick-start this new tournament on a high.
Nishikori Looking for First Win
Injuries and Covid-19 have thwarted Nishikori’s best-laid tennis plans and the struggles have been there for everyone to see. Since the resumption of tennis following the pandemic break in 2020, Nishikori has won just two of his nine matches.
Both of those wins have come on clay and three of those defeats happened this year on the hard court surfaces of Melbourne – at the ATP Cup and in the first round of the Australian Open. While Nishikori can blame his Australian Open defeat on the draw – he faced Pablo Carreno-Busta, an in-form player, in his opener, the fact that Nishikori lost in straight sets would dent some of his confidence.
That said, Nishikori has a decent record indoors, having won five of his 12 ATP titles on that surface and while he might still find the might of Auger-Aliassime a tad too difficult to handle, he has the experience to push his opponent.
Auger-Aliassime v Nishikori Prediction and Tip
We are going with a Auger-Aliassime win here but not before Nishikori makes things difficult for the Canadian. The over-games market looking tempting.
Tip: Over 20.5 games in the match: 5/6 (bet365)