For the first time since 2017, 11-time ATP Tour titlist and the greatest Japanese men’s tennis player of all time, Kei Nishikori, returns to the desert as he vies for his first career BNP Paribas Open title.
Absent from last year’s tournament due to a wrist injury that sidelined him for multiple Grand Slams, Nishikori has been in vintage form since returning to the court. He started his 2019 season at the Brisbane International, where he defeated a slew of top-ranked opponents including Grigor Dimitrov, Jeremy Chardy and Daniil Medvedev on his way to his first title since 2016.
Now in Indian Wells, Nishikori again has his sights set on gold.
The renowned Japanese star will get his tournament underway on Sunday, where adept Frenchman Adrian Mannarino stands between him and a spot in the third round. The pair met only once before at the 2018 Paris Masters, where Mannarino fought mightily but ultimately fell short as Nishikori claimed a straight-set victory.
While Mannarino, the world No. 52, has struggled during the early stages of his 2019 season, he has a golden opportunity to reverse his fortunes during his matchup with Nishikori. A win Sunday in the desert would be one of the biggest of his career and put the rest of the men’s main draw on high alert. In his opening round match, Mannarino looked much improved from the player who suffered first round exits in five of his first six tournaments of the year. He downed Tennys Sandgren 6-2, 6-7(5), 6-1 and stamped his ticket to a showdown with the Japanese world No. 6.
While neither player is amongst the biggest hitters in the sport, Nishikori is renowned for his forehand’s pinpoint accuracy and elite two-handed backhand. He will look to sharpen this diverse array of on-court weapons as he gears up for a deep run in Tennis Paradise.
Don’t miss any of the action, as Nishikori and Mannarino go to battle on Sunday afternoon on Stadium 2.