ATP World Tour Finals 2014, Day 1 Preview: Andy Murray v Kei Nishikori

MurrayThe first match of the 2014 ATP World Tour Finals will see two new faces for 2014, Andy Murray and Kei Nishikori.  Murray missed the tournament last year due to back surgery, meanwhile Nishikori is competing at this event for the first time in his career.  The Japanese star has had a tremendous year, reaching his first Grand Slam final at the US Open.  This result was neatly cushioned with four titles; two ATP 500 tournaments (Tokyo and Barcelona) and two ATP 250 tournaments (Kuala Lumpur and Memphis).  Nishikori’s health and fitness have still been a factor this year.  Nishikori was well on his way to winning the biggest title of his career in Madrid, eventually being forced to retire hurt against Rafael Nadal, who he gave the runaround for a good set and a half.  However, he has shown signs of strengthening during the second half of the season, winning through three punishing matches in a row against Milos Raonic, Stan Wawrinka and Novak Djokovic at the US Open.

Murray has somewhat salvaged his year with a great run in the fall season which saw him pick up his first, second and third titles of the 2014 season in Shenzhen, Vienna and Valencia respectivly.  It is frequently overlooked that Murray was still recovering from back surgery during the first half of the year and was not 100% until after Wimbledon.  He played himself into form after the US Open; however he has still struggled against the best players on tour.  It wasn’t until the US Open when Murray notched his first top ten win of the year against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.  During 2014, Murray has gone 0-8 against Djokovic, Federer and Nadal.

This should be a fascinating opening to the tournament.  It wasn’t surprising to see Murray v Nishikori get the afternoon session.  All the day matches will be broadcasted on BBC during the week, which means it is likely that Murray’s matches will all be in the afternoon.  Murray and Nishikori haven’t played since the beginning of the 2013 season.  Kei has improved dramatically since then and will be looking to overturn a 0-3 H2H lead.  I’m very intrigued to see the crowd response for Murray at this tournament, particularly during the match against Federer.  I fancy this will be a three setter.  Both have been in good form, but Murray especially, has played a lot of tennis in the last month or two and I think all the wins he has acquired will give him the boost to edge past Nishikori.

Prediction: Murray d. Nishikori in 3 sets

3 thoughts on “ATP World Tour Finals 2014, Day 1 Preview: Andy Murray v Kei Nishikori

  1. Murray is définitively confident. He will have enough time to rest.
    Nishikori last defeats were Djoko and J.Sock (Shangai)… Nishikori is not at ease when he’s playing against good service.
    Murray, 2 sets. If his 1st service stats are ok. Otherwise, Nishikori to win.

    Fec cup final will also be played this week-end.
    Germany (Kerber/ Petkovic /Lisicki/Goerges)
    Cz Republic (Kvitova, Safarova, Pliskova, Hradecka)

    Any predictions ?
    Cz Republic seems better : Kvitova 2 pts, the double 1pt ==> 3 points


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