Shenzhen previews and predictions: Zverev vs. Nishioka, Fognini vs. Zverev

One last first-rounder in Shenzhen will take place on Wednesday, when Alexander Zverev goes up against Yoshihito Nishioka. The older Zverev brother, Mischa, will continue his campaign with Fabio Fognini on the other side of the net.

Yoshihito Nishioka vs. (5) Alexander Zverev

Zverev is coming off the first ATP title of his career heading into his opening match in Shenzhen on Wednesday afternoon. Playing in his third final, the 19-year-old German faced U.S. Open champion Stan Wawrinka in last Sunday’s St. Petersburg Open and battled back from a 3-0 deficit in the deciding set to triumph 6-2, 3-6, 7-5. He preceded that victory by beating Karen Khachanov, Daniil Medvedev, Mikhail Youzhny, and Tomas Berdych all in straight sets. Up to No. 24 in the world, Zverev is an outstanding 38-21 for the season.
Zverev 2
Up first for the No. 5 seed is a second career meeting with Nishioka, who lost their only previous encounter 7-6(1), 6-3 at the 2015 Washington, D.C. event. The world No. 97 from Japan has not won a main-draw match since reaching the semifinals of the BB&T Atlanta Open in late July. He at least scored an impressive four-set victory over Ukrainian Illya Marchenko in the recent Davis Cup playoffs, but Nishioka followed that up by losing to Jason Jung in round one of a Challenger tournament in Kaohsiung, Taiwan. Based on current form, and obviously ranking, this looks like a mismatch.

Pick: Zverev in 2

(7) Fabio Fognini vs. (Q) Mischa Zverev

It has already been a productive week for the other Zverev brother, who qualified for the main draw with a pair of wins before taking care of Chinese wild card Zhe Li 6-2, 6-3 on Monday. At 29 years old, the oft-injured Zverev is armed with a clean bill of health and in resurgent form at the moment. Although main-draw action has proven to be difficult for the world No. 120, he has successfully qualified at five consecutive ATP-level tournaments.

A fifth career showdown against Fognini awaits Zverev on Wednesday, and the Italian surprisingly trails the head-to-head series 2-1 at the ATP level (it’s 2-2 overall). The two veterans last faced each other in the fall of 2015 on the indoor hard courts of Valencia, where Zverev prevailed 6-2, 7-6(3). Fognini has not played since losing a five-set night match against David Ferrer in round two of the U.S. Open. The world No. went 4-4 during the hard-court summer, with a decent third-round performance at the Rio Olympics. Zverev faded badly in tough three-set loss to Paolo Lorenzi last week in St. Petersburg, so Fognini may have a slight edge in what will likely be a competitive contest.

Pick: Fognini in 3

6 Comments on Shenzhen previews and predictions: Zverev vs. Nishioka, Fognini vs. Zverev

  1. Lol Nishioka lost. To Fabbiano… Good move by Zverev to not play so he’s ready for the bigger upcoming tournaments. And man did Nishioka have a good opportunity. Instead Fabbiano took it. Good win for the Italian.

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