|Date & Time||Monday September 1, 2014, 9:00 AM (EDT)|
ESPN, CBS, Tennis
Kei Nishikori and Milos Raonic meet in the fourth round of the 2014 US Open.
Kei Nishikori has played some impressive tennis through the first three matches, winning all nine sets he’s played so far. Nishikori’s most recent victory came against Leonardo Mayer, a match that needed only 27 games to be decided. In the victory, Nishikori won 70 percent of his first serve points, 80 percent of his net points and hit 25 winners. He was only broken once the entire match. Kei Nishikori has always had the potential to be one of the better players on tour, but he’s struggled at times with consistency and has made too many costly errors that has prevented him from taking that next step. However, Nishikori is in great form right now and should be fresh for this match given how little he’s played. Nishikori has not made it past the fourth round of a major since the 2012 Australian Open.
Milos Raonic has been a little shaky so far with his play but has only lost one set in his first three matches. While Raoni remains one of the dark horses in the tournament, his last four sets played have needed tiebreaks to be decided. That includes Raoni’s most recent match against Victor Estrella Burgos, as all three sets were won 7-6. In the win, Milos Raonic did hit 22 aces and average a first serve speed of 124 mph, but he made 46 unforced errors and got just 58 percent of his first serves in play. It’s no secret that Raoni will have to clean up his game if he hopes to make a deep run at his first major title in his career. Nevertheless, Raonic has won 13 of his last 15 matches and has reached at least the quarterfinals in two of the first three majors this season.
These two have met three times in the past and Kei Nishikori leads the series, 2-1. They’ve played twice this season and Kei Nishikori won at the Madrid Masters, while Milos Raonic pulled off the victory at the Wimbledon. This will just be the second time they’ve played on hard court.
I’m expecting Raonic to be the favorite, but I like Nishikori to pull off the upset. Not only has Nishikori had success against Raonic, but he’s also playing better tennis and has had to play far less leading up to this match. Endurance and fatigue starts kicking in around this time. Give me Nishikori for the win.