Reservations for the third round are up for grabs with a slate of intriguing matches on Wednesday in Cincinnati. Kei Nishikori will look to kick start his hardcourt summer against his countryman Yoshihito Nishioka while David Goffin and Guido Pella will clash for the second time in as many weeks. Wednesday will also see the two young Alex de Minaur and Reilly Opelka clash for the third time in their young careers. With so many exciting matches slated, there should be no shortage of top-notch tennis.
ATP Cincinnati Wednesday Predictions
Kei Nishikori vs Yoshihito Nishioka
Head to head: First Meeting
Yoshihito Nishioka did well to make it through qualifying and to earn a quality three-set victory in the first round over Jordan Thompson. His next task will be more difficult as he takes on his countryman and 2014 US Open finalist Kei Nishikori. Both players are consistent baseline players and have similar games except Nishikori simply does it better. Look for Nishikori to be aggressive on his service games and to use his world-class serve return to trouble Nishioka. However, Nishikori shouldn’t get too comfortable as he is coming off a tough loss to Richard Gasquet. Additionally, Nishikori Nishioka has shown this year that he can compete with top-level players as he pushed Juan Martin Del Potro to 5 sets at the French Open. Despite that, expect Nishikori to be just a notch better in this contest.
Prediction: Nishikori in 3
David Goffin vs Guido Pella
Head to head: 3-1 Goffin
This match could end up being the most competitive of the day. David Goffin does own the head to head advantage over Guido Pella, but they have played some very competitive matches including a five-setter a few years ago at the US Open. They have also split their two encounters during this season. Pella took a close two-setter recently at the 2019 Rogers Cup, but Goffin dusted him 6-1 6-1 on the grass at the 2019 Noventi Open.
Pella served extremely well in his last match, with a 73% first-serve percentage, however, he will be facing one of the best serve returners the game has in Goffin. That may very well determine the final result. On top of that, it will be interesting if Goffin plays at a level as he did in 2017 or if he struggles as he has for parts of this season. Factoring in all of the considerations, Goffin seems to handle fast surfaces, like the courts in Cincinnati better than Pella. Look for that to give Goffin the edge in a tough victory.
Prediction: Goffin in 3
Alex de Minaur vs Reilly Opelka
Head to head: 2-0 Minaur
Last month Alex de Minaur won a tough three-setter at the BB&T Atlanta Open over Reilly Opelka and has been victorious in both of their ATP encounters. Having former World #1 Lleyton in his corner seems to be giving de Minaur the mental approach needed to succeed in tough matches. That could be a huge factor in this match and a major reason why de Minaur has really started to turn around his season in recent weeks. Opelka should have a lot of confidence as he used his massive serve to take down Stanislas Wawrinka not too long ago at Wimbledon. This match has all the makings of a three-setter. Opelka’s serve should flourish on these fast hard courts and give his opponent serious problems.
Prediction: Opelka in 3