Kei Nishikori vs. Denis Kudla
|Date & Time||Tuesday January 1, 2019, 8:00 PM (EST)|
The Line: -- Over/Under:
Denis Kudla and Kei Nishikori meet in the second round of the 2018 tennis Brisbane International.
Denis Kudla is coming off a three sets win over Taylor Harry Fritz that took 36 games to decide. In the victory, Kudla won 79 percent of his first serve points and 59 percent of his second serve points. Kudla won 72 percent of his total service points and managed to save all four of his break points. Kudla is going to have a lot of success this year if he can serve the way he just served, but he must be sharper with his return and learn to finish points a little quicker. It will be interesting to see how much Kudla has left in the tank this early in the season considering he just played two and a half hours. Kudla has lost three of his last four matches on hard court.
Kei Nishikori hasn’t played a competitive match since the ATP Finals, but he did snag two exhibition matches in Hawaii, which were two straight set victories. When you include those two performances, Nishikori has won 11 of his last 16 matches and each of his last eight wins have been decided in straight sets. Nishikori has had his best success when his serve is working, as you always know what you’re going to get from him defensively and with his return skills. When Nishikori is winning 70 percent or better of his service points, like he did in his win over Roger Federer, he’s one of the tougher players on tour to play. Nishikori has won six of his last eight matches on hard court.
These two have played once, which was in the 2014 Wimbledon, a match Nishikori won in straight sets. The match took 24 games to be decided.
You have to question how much Kudla has left in the tank, as a lot of guys are just knocking off the rust and getting their feet under them after the layoff. Kudla just played a marathon two and a half hour match. Nishikori looked sharp in exhibition play and is always one of the more fit players on tour.
Nishikori should cruise in straight sets.