Kei Nishikori vs. Daniil Medvedev
|Date & Time||Sunday October 7, 2018, 2:00 AM (EDT)|
The Line: -- Over/Under:
Daniil Medvedev and Kei Nishikori meet in the final of the 2018 tennis Japan Open.
Daniil Medvedev is coming off a straight sets win over Denis Shapovalov that took 18 games to decide. In the victory, Medvedev won 80 percent of his first serve points and 63 percent of his second serve points. Medvedev won 74 percent of his total service points and saved his only break point. Medvedev has now won 12 of his last 13 sets played and is coming off his best serving performance of the tournament in which he had 12 aces. Medvedev has really turned his season around the last two months on hard court play and is capable of beating anybody in his current form, as he’s faced just one break point in his last four sets combined. Medvedev looks to win his third title this year and his third title of his career. Medvedev is 2-1 in career final appearances and all three of those matches have taken place on hard court. Medvedev has won eight of his last nine matches on indoor hard court.
Kei Nishikori is coming off a straight sets win over Richard Gasquet that took 20 games to decide. In the victory, Nishikori won 84 percent of his first serve points and 64 percent of his second serve points. Nishikori won 79 percent of his total service points and didn’t face a single break point. Nishikori always brings his defense and impressive return ability to each match, but it’s been his serve that’s helped him produce this consistent stretch of tennis. Nishikori has won all eight sets this tournament, and when he’s not facing break points and hitting double-digit aces, he’s easily one of the best players on the planet. Nishikori has a chance to win his first title since the 2016 Memphis Open and his 12th title of his career. Nishikori has lost each of his last seven final appearances and is 9-7 in final appearances on hard court for his career. Nishikori has won six of his last seven matches on indoor hard court.
These two have played once, which was in Monte Carlo of this year, a match Nishikori won in straight sets. The match took 20 games to be decided.
You can make a case for either of these players with the way they’ve been serving, but Nishikori has the defense that gives him the edge here. Nishikori is doing a fine job of making his opponent play those extra balls and extend rallies, something Medvedev wants to avoid. You also know Nishikori is motivated to end that title drought and win in front of his home fans, a tournament he’s won twice in his career.
Nishikori finds a way to grind out a victory.