Djokovic to meet Nishikori

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Novak Djokovic has been drawn alongside Kei Nishikori in a blockbuster first round tie at the Mutua Madrid Masters

The former world No.1, still searching for his best form after a difficult 12 months, will take on the talented Japanese in a headline-grabbing opening round clash. The victor will encounter either Kyle Edmund or Daniil Medvedev in the last 32.

Either Djokovic or Nishikori will make an early exit, however both players will be relieved to have avoided being located in the same half of the draw as five-time champion Rafael Nadal.

The Spaniard will commence his campaign against either a qualifier or Gael Monfils. Diego Schwartzman is a possible last sixteen opponent and Dominic Thiem, who he defeated in last year’s final, could be waiting in the last eight.

Del Potro, playing his first clay-court event of the year, is scheduled to meet Nadal in the semi-finals. The Argentine will face either Julien Benneteau or Damir Dzumhur in the second round - and Kevin Anderson is a possible last eight foe.

Grigor Dimitrov has made an impressive start to the clay-court campaign and he could encounter Milos Raonic in an exciting second round tie, if the Canadian can take out a qualifer.

Alexander Zverev, the No.2 seed, currently in the semi-finals of the Munich Open, could face Stefanos Tsitsipas in an intriguing second round tie. The Greek, who is involved in the latter stages of the Estoril Open, reached a maiden ATP final at the Barcelona Open last week.

If the German can survive his early challengers, he could encounter Djokovic, Nishikori, Dimitrov or David Goffin in the semi-finals.

Other notable first round matches include: Robin Haase versus Hyeon Chung, Tomas Berdych against Richard Gasquet and Pablo Carreno Busta’s meeting with Borna Coric.

The action from Madrid begins on Monday. The full draw is available here.

Posted by: Graham Semple

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