Kei Nishikori vs. Novak Djokovic
|Date & Time||Monday January 25, 2016, 10:00 PM (EST)|
The Line: -- Over/Under:
Novak Djokovic and Kei Nishikori meet in the quarterfinals of the 2016 Australian Open.
Novak Djokovic is coming off a five-set win over Gilles Simon and has lost two sets this tournament. Djokovic is getting at least 61 percent of his first serves in play and is winning at least 70 percent of those points. Djokovic has combined for 96 winners in his last two matches and has at least nine aces in all four of his matches. The one concern for Djokovic is that he did have 100 unforced errors in his win over Simon, a number that must drop if he hopes to win this tournament. Still, Djokovic is the overwhelming favorite despite a subpar showing in his last match. Djokovic has lost in the quarterfinal of a grand slam once since 2011, which was the 2014 Australian Open.
Kei Nishikori is coming off a straight sets win over Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and has dropped one set this tournament. Nishikori has hit 104 winners in his last three matches and has had no more than 38 unforced errors in all four of his matches. Nishikori is getting at least 59 percent of his first serves in play and has racked up 26 aces this tournament. When Nishikori is hitting his spots and playing clean tennis overall, he’s a very tough out against anybody on tour. However, Nishikori is winning no more than 65 percent of his second serve points, a number that must improve. Nishikori has lost in the quarterfinals of a grand slam three times and has made it to the semifinals just once.
These two have played seven times in the past, and Djokovic has won five of those meetings including the last four. Nishikori’s last win over Djokovic came in the 2014 US Open, and the last meeting overall was in last year’s ATP World Tour Finals. This will be the seventh time Nishikori and Djokovic meet on hard court, the surface both of Kei’s victories have come on.
I’m a big fan of Nishikori and thinks he’s capable of pulling off the upset. However, you’d be a fool to bet against Djokovic in this spot, as the creative shotmaking of Nishikori is limited by the great defense of Novak. Have to side with Djokovic here as expected.