Australian Open Fourth Round Preview Roger Federer Vs Kei Nishikori
Roger Federer (17) takes on Kei Nishikori (5) in the Australian Open fourth round. The Tennis Review previews the action between two of the tournament’s most dangerous threats for the title.
Roger Federer had the tennis world in awe with his sublime 6-2, 6-4, 6-4 win over Tomas Berdych in the Australian Open third round. The Swiss executed his own strengths on the serve and at the net with pitch perfect precision, exploiting the Czech’s weaknesses, and reminding the tennis world just how good attacking tennis can look in the right conditions.
Federer had the right conditions alright with the roof closed and an opponent he matched up well against, and performances like that the one he gave versus Berdych should be savored because the conditions in Federer’s fourth round will not be so favorable.
Federer’s last sixteen opponent Kei Nishikori’s movement and baseline skills mean the fifth seed will be far more of a challenge to overwhelm in a hurry, and those skills are working very nicely for the Japanese. Nishikori, as the fith seed, has not had to beat anyone of Berdych’s stature, but he has been put to the test, defeating Andrey Kuznetsov in five in the first round, Jeremy Chardy in the second, and Lukas Lacko in the third, and the Brisbane finalist is nicely warmed up.
Federer will not enjoy indoor conditions which make his already perfect game more so, either, as a predicted 0% chance of rain means the roof will be open. The temperature will be 27 degrees at 8pm, though, and there will be 44% humidity, so the lighter balls being used this year should still fly fairly fast through the court, allowing Federer to play aggressively and rob his opponent of time. The Swiss will need to be quick- by 11pm, when, if Nishikori gets his teeth into the match the two could be locked into a fifth set, the temperature is forecast to be 22 degrees and the humidity 63%, taking some of the zip out of the ball, cooling down a potentially hot Federer, and allowing Nishikori more time to both track down the ball and set up his shots when he goes on the attack.
This match is on Federer’s racket and if he can get on top of Nishikori, and knock his confidence, he could trigger one of the Japanese’s infamous meltdowns against top players in big matches, and of their six matches (Federer has four wins over Nishikori, one on grass, and three on indoor hard, and two defeats, one on slow hard courts in Miami, and one on the faster clay courts of Madrid in 2013 when Federer was struggling with a back injury), this is the biggest one yet- the first time they have met in a slam.
Federer’s chances of winning an 18th slam improved when Djokovic was knocked out of the draw, and with fate working its magic, Federer has to keep his part of the deal and work his, too, to get this match won quickly and save himself, and his legs, for when he will need all his hard court wizardry- a potential last eight contest with world No.1 Andy Murray.
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