Roger Federer vs. Kei Nishikori
|Date & Time||Friday October 12, 2018, 8:00 AM (EDT)|
The Line: -- Over/Under:
Kei Nishikori and Roger Federer meet in the quarterfinals of the 2018 tennis Shanghai Masters.
Kei Nishikori is coming off a straight sets win over Sam Querrey that took 23 games to decide. In the victory, Nishikori won 69 percent of his first serve points and 72 percent of his second serve points. Nishikori won 71 percent of his total service points and saved his only break point. Nishikori has improved his serve during this stretch where he’s won 13 of his last 16 matches, as you know his defensive effort and return ability is always going to show up. It’s when Nishikori can hold serve that makes him a more complete player and somebody who can challenge the top tier for titles consistently. Nishikori has a chance to make the semifinals of the Shanghai Masters for the second time in his career and first since 2011. Nishikori has 36 career wins over top-10 players and four of them have come this year. Nishikori has won seven of his last eight matches on hard court.
Roger Federer is coming off a three sets win over Roberto Bautista-Agut that took 27 games to decide. In the victory, Federer won 69 percent of his first serve points and 63 percent of his second serve points. Federer won 67 percent of his total service points and produced three breaks on nine break points. Federer wasn’t his cleanest and has needed six sets to get to this point, but he continues to find ways to finish the match by buckling down when he needs to the most. Unlike most players in this tournament, Federer has that second gear he can reach to put his opponents away. Federer has a chance to make the semifinals of the Shanghai Masters for the ninth time in his last 11 appearances. Federer has won five of his last six matches on hard court.
These two have played seven times and Federer has won five of those matches. The most recent match was in the 2017 Australian Open, a match Federer won in five sets. Nishikori hasn’t beaten Federer since the 2014 Miami Open. Four of the last six matches between Federer and Nishikori have gone the distance.
You can make an argument that Nishikori heads into this match as the sharper player and it helps that he’ll have more fan support than usual in a match against somebody like Federer. The problem is betting against Federer is a difficult thing to do, especially when he has a clear edge in the head to head and is playing in a tournament where he has a ton of success. Even with Federer shaky in a few areas in his last two matches, he just finds a way to win anyway.
I’m not stepping in front of Federer given how he’s owned the Shanghai Masters over the years.