Palmerbet Sports Team’s daily preview serves up Australian Open tips for Kei Nishikori’s daunting quarter-final assignment against Novak Djokovic.
19:30 (AEDT), Wed 23rd Jan @ Melbourne Park
History: Played 17: Djokovic 15 V Nishikori 2
Last Meeting: US Open, 2018 (SF): Djokovic d Nishikori 6-3 6-4 6-2
Final Thoughts: Eighth seed Kei Nishikori confronts the biggest challenge in men’s tennis – and a terrible rivalry record – when he meets world No.1 Novak Djokovic in the Australian Open quarter-finals.
Djokovic has a dominant 15-2 record against Nishikori and has won the last 13 straight. They are also squaring off at the third consecutive major. Djokovic won their Wimbledon quarter-final in four sets and their US Open semi in three on the way to winning both titles.
Their only previous Australian Open showdown saw Djokovic win in the 2016 quarters while dropping on nine games.
Djokovic has shown exactly why he came into Melbourne as a $1.75 tournament favourite. He breezed past Mitchell Kreuger and Jo Wilfried-Tsonga in straight sets, then overwhelmed seeded stars Denis Shapovalov and Daniil Medvedev in four.
After early exits in 2017-18, Djokovic is into the Australian Open quarters for the 10th time. Each of the six times he won his quarter-final, he went on to win the tournament.
Nishikori has reached the last eight the hard way. He accounted for Joao Sousa in straight sets in the third round, but his other three matches – against Kamil Majchrzak, Ivo Karlovic and Pablo Carreno Busta – all went to five sets.
The Japanese stalwart made an admirable comeback from injury to the top-10 in 2018, with his charge to the US Open semis a highlight. But after several energy-sapping outings (his fourth-round win featured 59 games), Nishikori should be easy pickings for his boogeyman Djokovic.
AUSTRALIAN OPEN TIPS
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