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Kei Nishikori vs Feliciano Lopez ATP Rome Preview, Predictions and Live Stream: Nishikori looks to snap three-match losing streak

Leye Aduloju in ATP Tour 13 May 2018
  • Kei Nishikori vs Feliciano Lopez is live from Rome on Monday, 14 May from 12:00pm local time/ 11:00am BST
  • Nishikori and Lopez are tied at 3-3 on head-to-head, 1-1 on clay
Kei Nishikori. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

Kei Nishikori looks to end a three-match losing streak when he takes on Spaniard, Feliciano Lopez in the first round of the Internazionali BNL d'Italia in Rome on Monday. 

Nishikori struggled with a wrist injury at the back end of last year, ending his season after the Rogers Cup in Montreal, and after slowly working his way back on to the tour in the opening quarter of 2018, the 28-year-old appeared to have found some decent form with a runner-up finish in Monte Carlo, where he claimed marquee wins over Tomas Berdych, Marin Cilic and Alexander Zverev before falling to Rafael Nadal in the final. 

However, the often-injured Japanese suffered a setback in his next event in Barcelona, where he retired hurt against Spanish veteran, Guillermo Garcia-Lopez in the opening round. Nishikori recovered in time to take his place in the Madrid Open draw, but he got a rough draw in the Spanish capital, where he faced former world number one and 12-time Grand Slam champion, Novak Djokovic in the first round. 

Now, Djokovic has had his own long-running problems with form and injuries, and was arguably there for the taking, but the Serbian had won ten straight matches against Nishikori- certainly not the man you want to be facing in the opening round of a Masters 1000 tournament! Both men took their time to get going, but it was Djokovic who found consistency as the match progressed, breaking late at the end of both sets to emerge with a 7-5 6-4 victory. 

Nishikori had opened his season on the Challenger Tour, as he eased his way back on to the tour after his wrist problems. The Japanese lost his comeback match to Dennis Novikov at Newport Beach, but he hit back to claim the title in Dallas. Nishikori returned to the ATP World Tour in New York, where he reached the semi-finals, but he couldn't back up that encouraging performance through the rest of the hard-court season. He lost to Denis Shapovalov in the opening round in Acapulco, pulled out of Indian Wells with an illness before falling to Juan Martin del Potro in the third round in Miami. 

Clay brought better tidings for Nishikori as he made the final in Monte Carlo, but that has been followed by successive opening round defeats in Barcelona and Madrid. Can the 2016 Rome semi-finalist get back to winning ways when takes on Feliciano Lopez in the Italian capital on Monday? 


Predictably, Lopez doesn't have the greatest record in Rome. He made the quarter finals in 2010; but has failed to cross the opening round in ten of his 14 previous appearances, including the last two seasons. 

The 35-year-old Spaniard is 11-10 in 2018, with quarter finals in Sydney and Acapulco, and a third-round run at Indian Wells being his most notable performances. Elsewhere during the hard-court season, he reached the second round in Doha and Rotterdam, while he suffered opening round exits at the Australian Open and Miami. 

Lopez is 3-3 on clay this year, after winning first-round matches in Monte Carlo, Barcelona and Madrid before losing in the second round in all three tournaments. Lopez has done well to maintain a top-40 ranking in all through the season, but he faces a difficult task in retaining that ranking in the next couple of months, particularly in the grass court season, where he won at Queen's last season, and made the final in Stuttgart. A couple of wins in Rome will, however unlikely given his record, come in as a very handy bonus. 

Nishikori and Lopez are tied at 3-3 on head-to-head, 1-1 on clay. Lopez is heavily reliant on his big leftie serves, but that hasn’t always served him well on the slower clay of the Foro Italico. Nishikori should get enough returns in play, and ultimately snap that run of three straight defeats.

Kei Nishikori vs Feliciano Lopez is live from Rome on Monday, 14 May from 12:00pm local time/ 11:00am BST


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Kei Nishikori vs Feliciano Lopez ATP Rome Preview, Predictions and Live Stream: Nishikori looks to snap three-match losing streak

Kei Nishikori opens his Rome campaign against Feliciano Lopez on Monday. Can Nishikori snap a three-match losing streak? Read our preview, predictions and stream the match live online.

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