Kei Nishikori vs. Novak Djokovic
|Date & Time||Tuesday January 22, 2019, 7:00 PM (EST)|
The Line: -- Over/Under:
Kei Nishikori and Novak Djokovic meet in the quarterfinals of the 2019 tennis Australian Open.
Kei Nishikori is coming off a five sets win over Pablo Carreno-Busta that took 59 games to decide. In the victory, Nishikori won 73 percent of his first serve points and 43 percent of his second serve points. Nishikori won 62 percent of his total service points and produced six breaks on 21 break points. Nishikori muscled his way to victory after dropping the first two sets, surviving a five hour marathon match that ended in a 18 point tiebreak. Nishikori is always one of the more fit players on the tour, but his conditioning will be a serious question entering this match. Either way, Nishikori is back t playing elite level defense and his mental toughness can never ben questioned. Nishikori hopes to make his fourth career grand slam semifinal and his first ever at the Australian Open. Nishikori is 3-6 in career grand slam quarterfinal matches. Nishikori has won 10 of his last 11 matches on hard court.
Novak Djokovic is coming off a four sets win over Daniil Medvedev that took 40 games to decide. In the victory, Djokovic won 73 percent of his first serve points and 50 percent of his second serve points. Djokovic won 65 percent of his total service points and produced seven breaks on 18 break points. Djokovic is also going to be dealing with conditioning issues, as he played over three hours of physical tennis that contained countless long rallies. Djokovic also fell a few times in the match, so he’s sure going to be in plenty of ice baths. Other than the wear and tear, Djokovic should still be considered the favorite to win this tournament. Djokovic hopes to make a grand slam semifinal for the 13th time in his last 19 appearances. Djokovic also looks for his seventh Australian Open semifinal and has won nine of his last 12 grand slam quarterfinal matches overall. Djokovic has won 10 of his last 11 matches on hard court.
These two have played 19 times and Djokovic has won 17 of those matches. The most recent match was in the 2018 US Open, a match Djokovic won in straight sets. Nishikori’s only wins over Djokovic came in the 2014 US Open and in Basel of 2011. Djokovic has won 15 straight matches against Nishikori, which includes a walkover in Madrid. Ten of the 17 completed matches were decided in straight sets.
This should be a fun battle between two defensive masterminds who are extremely well conditioned and don’t give anything away easily. It’s going to be a battle that includes a lot of physical play. As for who wins, you still have to give the edge to Djokovic. He’s not only entering this match with less wear and tear, but there’s a glaring head to head advantage on his side as well. And that’s not mentioning the fact Djokovic has never lost in this tournament as the top seed. The fresher player was going to win this match given that there's going to be a ton of hitting due to elite defensive players.
I do give Nishikori a strong chance to steal a set, however, so this match won’t be a complete wash by any means.