Zverev vs. Nishikori
|Date & Time||Saturday April 21, 2018, 10:00 PM (EDT)|
The Line: -- Over/Under:
Kei Nishikori and Alexander Zverev meet in the semifinals of the 2018 tennis Monte Carlo Masters.
Kei Nishikori is coming off a three sets win over Marin Cilic that took 32 games to decide. In the victory, Nishikori won 73 percent of his first serve points and 54 percent of his second serve points. Nishikori has played three set matches in three of his last four tries, but he’s finding ways to grind these victories out and beat his opponent in a battle of fatigue. Nishikori has had an inconsistent serve, but his shotmaking ability and defense gives him a fighting chance each night. The one concern with Nishikori is that he as grabbing at his right wrist late in his quarterfinal victory, which will be something to watch early given his injury history. Nishikori has split his last six semifinal appearances. Nishikori looks for his first final appearance since last years Argentina Open and his fourth ever final appearance in a ATP World Tour Masters 1000. Nishikori has never made the finals of the Monte Carlo Masters. Nishikori has won eight of his last nine matches on clay court.
Alexander Zverev is coming off a three sets win over Richard Gasquet that took 30 games to decide. In the victory, Zverev won 59 percent of his first serve points and 45 percent of his second serve points. Zverev had to work hard to win his quarterfinal match on his birthday, but he won 54 percent of his return points and gave himself 12 break chances. Zverev has had to play three sets in each of his first three matches, and you have to question if all the tennis played this early is catching up to the 21-year-old. While not as dominant as parts of last year, Zverev is still finding ways to win and is showing that fighting spirit more and more. Zverev has won four of his last six semifinal appearances. Zverev hopes to make his second final appearance of the year and his fourth final appearance in a ATP World Tour Masters 1000. Zverev has won nine of his last 10 matches on clay court.
These two have played once, which was in the 2017 Citi Open, a match Zverev won in straight sets. The match took 19 games to be decided. This will obviously be the first meeting on clay.
Both of these guys are coming off grueling quarterfinal matches, so the winner simply could be who has more left in the tank at this point. I am worried about Nishikori’s wrist given his injury history, so that makes him risky. However, Zverev has struggled to put guys away this tournament and fatigue may be catching up to him considering all of the tennis he’s played up to this point. Bottom line is if Gasquet was able to frustrate him by keeping balls in play and making craft shots, Nishikori should have similar success. This is also a quick turnaround for Zverev, who played the last match of the day and looked dead after it.
This is a coin flip to me, but I’m siding with Nishikori to get the nod.