Preview: Cameron Norrie v Yoshihito Nishioka | H2H: Tied at 1-1
Cameron Norrie will be eager to start the first Masters event of the season with a bang as faces a tricky Japanese opponent. The Brit has won just five matches at this level from fifteen previous matches, but Norrie looks to be in the form of his life so far.
Norrie has compiled a respectable 11-6 record this year with two quarterfinals under his belt already – matching his last eight appearances in 2020. The 25-year-old will be looking to break new ground at the Miami Open as he attempts to reach the second round for the first time in his career.
His next opponent, Yoshihito Nishioka, has had a lacklustre start to his season. The Japanese star has won just two of his six matches in 2021 – losing his last three on the bounce. The 25-year-old has beaten Norrie before however, at the tail-end of the 2018 season, although the Brit won their most recent encounter in 2019 (both on hard courts).
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Nishioka is up there with the very best pound-for-pound tennis players. Standing at just five-feet-seven-inches tall, the diminutive lefty makes up for his size with his immaculate footwork and defence. The 25-year-old is one of the quickest players on tour and makes life extremely frustrating for his opponents as they feel like they have to hit at least four winners to even win a point.
The Japanese No. 2 generates a tonne of spin off his forehand wing, which gives him valuable time to recover his court position. Although his serve may not be the most powerful, he uses it to good effect by placing it and therefore having a relatively high first serve percentage.
Norrie will have to do what he does best and grind for the win. Rallies of ten shots or more certainly won’t be uncommon and fitness may be the deciding factor in this contest – something we know the Brit has in his locker if needs be.
With Nishioka losing his last three matches he will no doubt be short on confidence. Norrie has played himself into form this year and each of those hard-earned victories will add to the belief that he not only belongs at this level, but he should be thriving. The points will be close, but the scoreline will not.
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