Dominic Thiem and Kei Nishikori meet in the quarterfinals of the 2016 Rome Masters.
Dominic Thiem is coming off a straight sets upset over Roger Federer that took 23 games to decide. Thiem looks like this is going to be his breakout year, as he now has three victories over top-10 players this season and now looks to make the semifinals in two of his last three tournaments. Thiem is doing a great job with his service game and has been more effective with his return as well. The confidence has to be oozing with the 22-year-old who is finally starting to find a rhythm and is competing with consistency against top competition. Thiem has never reached the semifinals throughout his career in the ATP World Tour Masters 1000.
Kei Nishikori is coming off a straight sets win over Richard Gasquet that took just 17 games to decide. Seven of Nishikori’s last 10 wins have been decided in straight sets, as he’s starting to return to elite form heading into the French Open. Nishikori was a little inconsistent to start the season, but that’s clearly changed recently now that he’s won 14 of his last 17 matches. When Nishikori isn’t making a lot of unforced errors and is hitting his winners, he’s tough to beat as you’re seeing now. Nishikori hopes to reach the semifinals of the Rome Masters for the first time of his career. It would be Nishikori’s fourth semis appearance since 2015 in the ATP World Tour Masters 1000.
These two have met once in the past, which was in last year’s Halle Open, a match Nishikori won in straight sets. The match was decided 25 games. This will obviously be the first time the two meet on clay court.
Thiem pulled off the upset of the tournament by beating Federer and has proven he’s capable of beating more top-10 players. However, Nishikori has been the more consistent player overall the last several weeks and has the athleticism to handle Thiem’s big shots.
I have Nishikori advancing to the semifinals.