Nadal vs. Nishikori
|Date & Time||Sunday August 14, 2016, 9:00 PM (EDT)|
The Line -- Over/Under:
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Kei Nishikori and Rafael Nadal meet in the bronze medal match of the 2016 Rio Summer Olympics.
Kei Nishikori is coming off a straight sets loss to Andy Murray that took 17 games to decide. Nishikori has now lost three of his last five sets but continues to show fight and remains highly competitive as long as he’s getting his winners in play. Nishikori can sometimes get a little down on himself, so it’s going to be interesting to see if he can pick himself back up after a loss in hopes of leaving Brazil with a medal. A win here and Nishikori would become the only Japanese singles player along with Ichiya Kumagae to win a tennis olympic medal. Nishikori has won 13 of his last 16 matches on hard court.
Rafael Nadal is coming off a three set loss to Juan Martín del Potro that took 35 games to decide. Nadal played all the way down to the wire and eventually lost in a three set tiebreak. Nadal mentioned how he’s still not 100 percent healthy and would still be rehabbing if it wasn’t for the fact these were the olympics. However, Nadal is moving pretty well and is making more and more jaw dropping shots that we’re used to seeing from him. Even in a losing effort, if this isn’t Nadal at top form, tennis fans should be excited for things to come starting next season. Nadal now has a chance to add a bronze medal to his gold medal from the 2008 olympics. Nadal has won 12 of his last 17 matches on hard court.
These two have met 10 times in the past and Nadal has won nine of those meetings. The most recent match came in this year's Barcelona Open, a match Nadal won in straight sets. Nishikori’s only win over Nadal came in the 2015 Canadian Masters. The last three matches have been decided in straight sets.
I’m struggling with this one because Nadal spent so much energy in his loss, which not only makes it tough to bounce back mentally but also physically, as he has to be exhausted. Nishikori’s loss was rather quick and painless. However, that head to head jumps off the page. This also means a ton to Nadal, as he’s putting everything into his matches.
I don’t love the pick, but I’m leaning more towards Nadal in this match.