Berdych vs. Nishikori
|Date & Time||Monday April 16, 2018, 10:00 PM (EDT)|
The Line: Nishikori +120 / Berdych -140 -- Over/Under:
Kei Nishikori and Tomas Berdych meet in the first round of the 2018 tennis Monte Carlo Masters.
Kei Nishikori has played just seven matches this year and is still trying to find his footing after a 4-3 record. Nishikori has been dealing with injuries the last several months, and he’s coming off a match in Miami in which he won just 56 percent of his first serve points and 23 percent of his return points. Nishikori has been much better in challenger play this season, and there’s a chance some of that success can give him the confidence to return to form in the ATP. We know what Nishikori is capable of when in form, but he’s in full struggle mode at the moment and tough to trust. Nishikori has won seven of his last 10 matches on clay court.
Tomas Berdych is off to a 10-5 record this season, but he’s split his last eight eight matches, so consistency has been an issue with him as well. Berdych is coming off a frustrating loss in Miami in which he was broken four times and got just 54 percent of his first serves in play. Berdych hasn’t been as dominant with his serve as of late, but most know it doesn’t take much for him to dial things in and become a scary opponent for anyone in the field. However, clay has never been Berdych’s favorite surface, and he has a lot of early exits in this tournament in particular. Berdych has won six of his last nine matches on clay court.
These two have played five times and Nishikori has won four of those meetings. The last match was in the 2015 ATP World Tour Finals, a match Nishikori won in three sets. Berdych’s only win over Nishikori came in the 2012 Monte Carlo Masters.
Neither of these players are easy to trust right now given their inconsistency and the current form. Berdych is probably the safer bet given he’s had more success, but I’m leaning with Nishikori and the plus money. Not only has he owned the head to head, but he’s also the better mover, which is key on clay where a lot of guys struggle with their footing.
Based on the value, I have Nishikori winning this match.