World number 14 Gael Monfils will be up against Japan’s Yoshihito Nishioka in the second round of the 2021 Lyon Open on Thursday, May 20. Get the live streaming options of this Gael Monfils v Yoshihito Nishioka match along with its preview, head to head, and tips here.
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Gael Monfils v Yoshihito Nishioka Head to Head
While these two players have never faced off at the highest level their only previous meeting came in the 2019 Davis Cup match between France and Japan. Nishioka had registered a straight-set win over Monfils on a hard court surface in that one.
Monfils Wins First Match in 15 Months
The last time Monfils won a competitive tennis match, the world hadn’t quite stopped to realise the impact a virus could make. It was in February 2020 and Monfils had just defeated fellow Frenchman Richard Gasquet to move into the semifinal of ATP Dubai where he then lost to Novak Djokovic in a fighting three-setter.
What happened after that is quite remarkable.
A former world number six and even now ranked 14th in the world, Monfils returned after the pandemic-forced break and lost all four of the matches he played. And if he thought the start to a new season in 2021 would be any better, even that didn’t work out for him as losses in the ATP Cup, Australian Open and the Rome Masters meant he was entering this competition on the back of eight successive defeats.
The good news is Monfils, who admitted later he was quite nervous, has managed to break the duck and register a win. He defeated Thiago Seyboth Wild sets 7-5, 6-4 to set up this meeting with Nishioka.
Can he carry this momentum forward though?
Nishioka Shocks Humbert
With barely a win on clay under this belt this season, Nishioka was a rank outsider going into his opening round match against Ugo Humbert. A set down after dropping his serve, Nishioka looked like his campaign was on the verge of ending soon.
In the second set, however, the Japanese player put up a resilient show, especially with his serving. He did save a couple of break-points in the fifth game and then broke in the eighth before serving out for the set to level proceedings.
An exchange of service breaks kick-started the third set and at 4-4 it looked like a tie-breaker was in the offing. Nishioka, however, earned himself three break-points at 0-40 on Humbert’s serve, broke off the second and then saved a break-point to finish off the encounter off the second match-point he got.
This win comes on the back of five defeats from his previous six matches, getting him some breathing space. Can he now make it two in two?
Monfils v Nishioka Prediction and Tip
Monfils starts off a favourite again at 1/2 but one swallow never made a summer and a win after 15 months might not be enough for now to prove he is truly back. Wait and watch policy as things stand, and backing his opponent to win a set here.