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Kei Nishikori vs. Marin Cilic 2018 US Open Tennis Pick, Preview, Odds, Prediction

Marin Cilic vs. Kei Nishikori
Date & Time Wednesday September 5, 2018, 8:00 PM (EDT)
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Kei Nishikori and Marin Cilic meet in the quarterfinal round of the 2018 tennis US Open.

Kei Nishikori is coming off a straight sets win over Philipp Kohlschreiber that took 17 games to decide. In the victory, Nishikori won 78 percent of his first serve points and 54 percent of his second serve points. Nishikori won 68 percent of his total service points and had just 18 unforced errors. It was the cleanest match by far for Nishikori and the second time in three matches he’s kept his unforced error total under 20. With the shotmaking skills of Nishikori, he’s going to be a handful to deal with when he’s not piling up the mistakes. The only question now is getting over the hump, as Nishikori has consistently been a top-10 quality player, but he usually folds when it comes to making a deep run in grand slam play. Nishikori has a chance to make his third career grand slam semifinal, all of which would have taken place in the US Open. Nishikori is 2-6 in career grand slam quarterfinal matches. Nishikori has won five of his last six matches on hard court.

Marin Cilic is coming off a straight sets win over David Goffin that took 31 games to decide. In the victory, Cilic won 83 percent of his first serve points and 47 percent of his second serve points. Cilic showed no signs of fatigue after playing five sets in the previous match, as he won 63 percent of his total service points and broke five times on eight break points. Cilic has been serving at a high level this tournament and has combined for 51 aces through four matches. As long as Cilic is getting a ton of free points with his serve and limits the unforced errors, he’s capable of giving anybody in the remaining draw a run for their money. Cilic had 48 unforced errors in his last match, a number he needs to trim moving forward. Cilic hopes to make his sixth career grand slam semifinal and third in the US Open. Cilic is 5-7 in career grand slam quarterfinal matches. Cilic has won seven of his last eight matches on hard court. 

These two have played 14 times and Nishikori has won eight of those meetings. The most recent match was in this years Monte Carlo Masters, a match Nishikori won in three sets. Five of Cilic’s six wins over Nishikori came on hard court. These two have played three times in previous US Opens and Cilic has won two of those matches.

Nishikori is always worth a look due to his defensive and shotmaking skills, and he controls the head to head. The problem is Cilic has the power to hit through Nishikori and tire him out over time. The pace on hard court clearly gives Cilic the edge, which is why he’s won five of 11 meetings against Nishikori on this surface. It’s going to take a lot of running for Nishikori to prevail. 

I give Cilic the victory in a marathon match.

Marin Cilic

Randy Chambers has been with Sports Chat Place since 2014 and covers everything from the NFL to WNBA and tennis. Nobody works harder in this business in terms of content produced and amount of sports covered. Formerly a lead college football writer with Bleacher Report and has had his work featured at Fox Sports, CBS Sports and various other outlets.

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