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Kei Nishikori vs Diego Schwartzman Argentina Open tennis live: Nishikori begins title quest in Buenos Aires

Andrew Hendrie in ATP Tour 15 Feb 2017
  • Kei Nishikori vs Diego Schwartzman is live from Buenos Aires at 9.00pm local time on Wednesday (12.00am GMT, Thursday)
  • First meeting between the pair
Kei Nishikori (Photo by Matthew Lewis/Getty Images)

Kei Nishikori begins his Argentina Open title quest on Wednesday in Buenos Aires when he faces local favourite Diego Schwartzman.





Playing his first tournament since an Australian Open fourth round loss to eventual champion Roger Federer, Kei Nishikori targets a maiden ATP title on South American soil when he competes in the Argentina Open for the first time since 2012. Nishikori will begin his campaign against diminutive Argentine Diego Schwartzman on Wednesday night.

Opting to jump ship from his traditional February stomping ground of Memphis (where he is the four-time defending champion), Nishikori will play the Golden Swing over the upcoming fortnight, backing up the Argentina Open with next week’s ATP 500 tournament in Rio de Janeiro - South America’s only ATP 500 event.

While the rest of the top 20 are battling it out on the indoor hardcourts of Europe, Nishikori is the only top 20 player competing in Buenos Aires this week - and as such, he has a tremendous opportunity to take home the title. Nishikori has been steadily improving on clay over the last few seasons. The 27-year-old secured back-to-back ATP 500 titles at the Barcelona Open in 2014 and 2015, while he was runner-up to Rafael Nadal in 2016. Nishikori also made semi-finals of the Madrid and Rome Masters last year, highlighting his growing credentials on the surface.


With Argentine coach Dante Bottini in his corner in Buenos Aires, nothing less than the silverware will do for Nishikori this week.

Nishikori has enjoyed another typically solid start to 2017, reaching the Brisbane International final (losing to Grigor Dimitrov), but he was unfortunate to run into a resurgent Roger Federer in the fourth round of the Australian Open. Nishikori was close to knocking out the eventual champion but ultimately succumbed in five sets.

“I learned many things after that match and I just tried to keep going, keep practising and just hoping to have a great result here. Would be great for my confidence,” Nishikori said ahead of the tournament.
“It’s a big change for me but I love playing on clay courts. I think it can be a good preparation for Europe,” he said. “I want to win these two tournaments."

First up for Nishikori in Buenos Aires is local hope Diego Schwartzman.



Diego Schwartzman (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

Currently ranked at a career-high mark of No. 50, Schwartzman is searching for his first back-to-back wins of the season after he eased past compatriot Facundo Bagnis 6-1 6-4 on Tuesday night in his Buenos Aires opener.

Schwartzman experienced a career-best season in 2016, highlighted by capturing his first ever ATP World Tour title on the clay of Istanbul. Coming into the tournament on a five-match losing streak, Schwartzman flipped the switch to win five straight matches to win the title, including saving a match point in the quarter-finals and then benefitting from the infamous Grigor Dimitrov meltdown when he recovered from a set and 5-2 down to emerge triumphant. Schwartzman also made another ATP final in 2016 - at Antwerp, where he posted the best win of his career over then No. 12 David Goffin in the semi-finals.

It’s been a somewhat quiet start to 2017 for Schwartzman, with the 24-year-old falling to Milos Raonic in the second round of Brisbane, Malek Jaziri in the opening round of Auckland and Steve Darcis in the second round of the Australian Open.

Nishikori and Schwartzman have never played each other before on tour. Both are similar sort of players in terms of they don’t have one huge weapon to rely on. However obviously Nishikori is much more dangerous consistently from the baseline with his rapid-fire groundstrokes and sublime return of serve. Schwartzman plays his best on clay and that will be beneficial in this clash, but it’s hard to see him finding the necessary firepower to storm past Nishikori over three sets. The top seed should book his spot in the quarter-finals on Wednesday night.


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Kei Nishikori vs Diego Schwartzman Argentina Open tennis live: Nishikori begins title quest in Buenos Aires

Kei Nishikori begins his Argentina Open title quest on Wednesday in Buenos Aires when he faces local favourite Diego Schwartzman.

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