ATP Montréal Kei Nishikori Vs Andy Murray Semi-final Preview

 

Nishikori

Photo courtesy of Winnipegfreepress.com

Andy Murray and Kei Nishikori will meet for the sixth time when they face off in the ATP Canadian Open semis tonight. The tennis review previews the action and predicts the winner in this high stakes clash.

Head to head: Murray leads 4-1.

Their last match, in Madrid this season, was won by Murray 6-3, 6-4.

Form coming in: Last week Nishikori won his tenth career title at the Citi Open while Murray lost to Teymaruz Gabashvili in a third set tiebreaker in the opening round.

This week, Nishikori got his first win over Rafael Nadal, a match he was favorite to win. Murray meanwhile cruised against Tsonga whom he now leads 12-2 in their head to head.

With Nishikori coming in on the back of the Citi Open win and a confidence boosting win over Nadal he has the momentum on his side.

What is at stake?: For Murray, the ATP No.2 spot, and the possibility to be second seed at the US Open, thus avoiding Djokovic until the final. He might still have to get past Federer though, so how much of an advantage the no.2 seeded position would be is questionable.

For Nishikori, a second win over Murray would be great going into the US Open and his second ATP 1000 final would be another step in the right direction career wise.

The favorite: Murray. The Scot has the return of serve to trouble Nishikori’s second delivery, the counter punching skills to react to Nishikori’s aggression with interest, and the defensive skills to make him hit one more ball and frustrate him into error.

What Nishikori has to do to win: Nishikori will have to play his best against a very solid Murray. The serve will be vital – he has to keep a high first serve percentage and place the second serve intelligently to Murray’s weaknesses.

At the baseline, Nishikori has to execute controlled aggression, build up his rhythm and let his shots flow. Most importantly, he has to keep positive, focused and concentrate on executing his superior hard court baseline game.

Murray may have better speed, reactions and defensive skills, but Nishikori has the better ground strokes and baseline instincts which, if he is confident, should trump Murray’s defensive counterpunching.

Likely result: Nishikori has been progressing well of late, and while Murray may be world No.3, he is not the world beater he once was (still yet to get a win over Federer or Djokovic since 2013). Nishikori should be able to adapt to the problems he encounters against Murray, and most importantly, he should have the confidence to overcome them in a tough match.

Nishikori to win in three sets.

Commentary by Christian Deverille.

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Christian Deverille

Christian Deverille is a tennis writer with a diploma in Freelance Sports Writing from the London School of Journalism. He loves all things tennis, most of all the Federer and del Potro forehands.
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