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Kei Nishikori vs Alexandr Dolgopolov Argentina Open tennis live: Nishikori looks to extend perfect record over Dolgopolov in Buenos Aires final

Andrew Hendrie in ATP Tour 19 Feb 2017
  • Kei Nishikori vs Alexandr Dolgopolov is live from Buenos Aires at 2.00pm local time on Sunday (5.00pm GMT)
  • Nishikori owns perfect 5-0 record over Dolgopolov (10-0 in sets)
Kei Nishikori (Photo by ALEJANDRO PAGNI/AFP/Getty Images)

Top seed Kei Nishikori targets a first ever ATP World Tour title on South American soil on Sunday when he takes on Alexandr Dolgopolov in the Argentina Open final in Buenos Aires.





Kei Nishikori looks to extend his perfect record over Alexandr Dolgopolov (5-0 and 10-0 in sets) and capture the Argentina Open silverware in Buenos Aires on Sunday.

It’s been a challenging week for Nishikori in Buenos Aires. The former US Open finalist has been forced to come back from one set down in two of the three matches he’s played en route to the final, including in Saturday’s semi-final clash with local hope Carlos Berlocq.

In a gruelling showdown, Nishikori recovered from a set down and 4-4, 0-30 in the second to emerge a 4-6 6-4 6-3 winner in two hours and 45 minutes. Nishikori improved his stellar record in deciding sets to 103-31 and continued his excellent run of form in February tournaments after he won four consecutive titles at the Memphis Open from 2013 to 2016.

While he hasn’t really kicked on from his run to the 2014 US Open final, Nishikori has enjoyed an encouraging start to 2017. Declaring his goal this year is to win a grand slam and Masters 1000 title, it’s taken the two best players of the season to stop Nishikori. The 27-year-old has only suffered two defeats - one in the Brisbane International final to Grigor Dimitrov and the other in the Round of 16 at the Australian Open to Roger Federer, which was an extremely unfortunate draw. Nishikori had opportunities to win both of those contests, falling in three against Dimitrov and extending Federer to five sets in Melbourne.


Nishikori has lost to the eventual champion in the two tournaments he’s played in 2017, and he will be hoping that’s not the case again on Sunday in Buenos Aires when he faces Alexandr Dolgopolov.



Alexandr Dolgopolov (Photo by ALEJANDRO PAGNI/AFP/Getty Images)

It’s been a tough last 12 months for Dolgopolov, with a back injury contributing to his ranking plummeting to No. 66 in the world. Dolgopolov had lost 10 of his last 11 matches coming into Buenos Aires - including first round exits this year in Brisbane, Sydney and Quito - but the Ukrainian has been in menacing form since stepping out on the Argentinean clay.

Dolgopolov hasn’t dropped a set this week, registering clinical victories over Janko Tipsarevic, Pablo Cuevas, Gerald Melzer and Pablo Carreno Busta. The 7-5 6-2 win over Carreno Busta was particularly impressive as Dolgopolov blasted past the Spaniard in just 69 minutes to reach his first ATP World Tour final since going down to Rafael Nadal in Rio de Janeiro in 2014.

"I feel very good," said Dolgopolov. "It's really nice to be in a final again because because I had a couple tough years."

A former Australian Open quarter-finalist and top 20 player, Dolgopolov has struggled over the past couple of seasons, with his best results in 2016 being a semi-final in Acapulco and quarter-finals in Sydney, Barcelona and Nottingham. However at his best, Dolgopolov is an extremely dangerous and flashy player, capable of beautiful ball-striking from the baseline.

The problem for Dolgopolov on Sunday is that Nishikori never allows him to settle, find rhythm and play his best tennis. Nishikori takes time away from Dolgopolov and has dominated all five of their previous meetings without dropping a set - including twice last year in Miami and Barcelona. Nishikori is without doubt the heavy favourite to bag his 12th career title in Buenos Aires.


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Kei Nishikori vs Alexandr Dolgopolov Argentina Open tennis live: Nishikori looks to extend perfect record over Dolgopolov in Buenos Aires final

Top seed Kei Nishikori targets a first ever ATP World Tour title on South American soil on Sunday when he takes on Alexandr Dolgopolov in the Argentina Open final in Buenos Aires.

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