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Nishikori vs Fritz tennis live streaming, preview and predictions – Former Barcelona champion Nishikori on three-match losing streak

Hannah Wilks in ATP Tour 22 Apr 2019
  • Kei Nishikori faces Taylor Fritz in the second round of the Barcelona Open
  • Nishikori vs Fritz is live from Barcelona on Tuesday at 11am local/10am BST
Kei Nishikori (PA Sport)

Kei Nishikori tries to snap a three-match losing streak at the Barcelona Open, where he’s won the title twice, as he takes on Taylor Fritz in the second round.


Kei Nishikori attempts to bounce back from an early Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters exit as he begins his Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell campaign against Taylor Fritz on Tuesday.

Kei Nishikori lost early at the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters (PA Sport)
Nishikori has a superb record at the Barcelona Open – he is one of the only two other players to have captured the title since 11-time champion Rafael Nadal started his reign in 2005, taking advantage of Nadal’s quarterfinal loss to Nicolas Almagro in 2014 to capture the title (d. Santiago Giraldo) and defending it in 2015 (d. Pablo Andujar) when Nadal again fell early, in this case to Fabio Fognini. 

Nishikori had built a 14-match winning streak at the Barcelona Open by the time he lost to Nadal in the 2016 final, but on his only appearance since, he retired trailing by a set against Guillermo Garcia-Lopez in his opening match.

Nishikori was fresh (or, obviously, not so fresh) from having made the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters final last year, finishing runner-up to Nadal, and was still in some ways working his way back from a wrist injury which kept him off court in late 2017, so the retirement wasn’t too surprising.

He doesn’t have the same cause for an early exit from the Barcelona Open this year, because Nishikori lost his opening match at the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters last week to Pierre-Hugues Herbert – the third match he has lost in a row, all three to lower-ranked players, after being defeated by Hubert Hurkaz at the Indian Wells Masters and Dusan Lajovic at the Miami Masters.

After a bright start to the year which saw him win the Brisbane International title, make the Australian Open quarterfinals and reach the semifinals in Rotterdam, Nishikori has failed to win back-to-back matches at his last four events and there doesn’t seem to be any particular reason for it. He led by a set against Hurkacz and Lajovic, and had ten unconverted break points against Herbert. It’s all been a bit unimpressive.


Taylor Fritz (PA Sport)
Nishikori’s quarter of the Barcelona Open draw isn’t the toughest – his projected quarterfinal opponent is Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters champion Fabio Fognini, who might not be in the right mental or physical frame to keep that opponent – but it’s sprinkled with some dangerous players, like Denis Shapovalov, Felix Auger-Aliassime, and Nishikori’s second-round opponent, Taylor Fritz.
Like Nishikori, Fritz made quite a bright start to the year – in his case, reaching the third round of the Australian Open and winning the Newport Beach Challenger – and then started to struggle, losing the next four matches he played. Unlike Nishikori, Fritz turned things around at the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters, where he capitalized on a bit of luck – Jo-Wilfried Tsonga retiring trailing 4-6, 0-2 in the first round – to get an excellent win, beating Diego Schwartzman 6-4, 6-2.

Fritz lost in the round of 16 to Novak Djokovic, getting just three games in the process, but he has already brought some momentum to Barcelona, beating compatriot Reilly Opelka 6-3, 6-4 to make a winning debut at the 500-level event.

The American was a junior runner-up at the French Open, but he hasn’t played too much on clay as a pro, with his best result a semifinal finish in Houston in 2018. 

This will be the second clash between Nishikori and Fritz, who first met in the final of Memphis in 2016 when Fritz was only 18 and playing just his third ATP Tour-level event (it’s the second-fastest an American male player has ever reached their first ATP final). Nishikori handled Fritz 6-4, 6-4 then, and although the circumstances are very different and Fritz a much more experienced opponent, up until recently I would still have favoured Nishikori to win this – he isn’t going to get blasted off the court by power when it comes to facing Fritz, and I would expect the Japanese player to come out on top of any shotmaking duel of a player of Fritz’s type. But Nishikori has been playing so poorly recently that it feels as if all bets are off. Could this be Fritz’s moment to get his third win over a top-10 player and start building some real momentum on European clay?

Nishikori vs Fritz Barcelona Open tennis is live on Tuesday at 11am local/10am BST

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Nishikori vs Fritz tennis live streaming, preview and predictions – Former Barcelona champion Nishikori on three-match losing streak

Kei Nishikori vs Taylor Fritz live streaming, preview and predictions for the Barcelona Open second-round match on Tuesday 23 April: Nishikori, struggling recently for wins, needs to find some form in Barcelona

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