ATP World Tour Finals, Semi-Final Preview #1: Novak Djokovic v Kei Nishikori

Djokovic

Novak Djokovic and Kei Nishikori will kick off semi-finals day on Saturday at the 2014 ATP World Tour Finals as they play each other for fourth time in 2014.  As predicted, Djokovic sailed through his round robin group with straight set wins over Marin Cilic (6-1 6-1), Stan Wawrinka (6-3 6-0) and Tomas Berdych (6-2 6-2).  Djokovic has picked up right where he left off in Paris and seems to thriving on this slow indoor surface where his superior movement has seen him dominate against some of the big servers.

Nishikori continues to prove himself in 2014 as he confirmed his qualification for the last four at the O2.  He lost in straight sets to Roger Federer in his second match, but that was bookended that loss with a straight sets victory over Andy Murray, 6-4 6-4 and a come-from-behind win against David Ferrer, 4-6 6-4 6-1 in the longest and most entertaining of the round robin matches.  Nishikori’s fitness has come under the microscope during this year, but it is worth noting that he hasn’t been as fragile during the second half of the year.  His body has let him down at times, most notably in Madrid and Paris (RG), but he has shown a progression through the year.  This was most notable at the US Open where he played some lengthy matches against the best of the best and succeeded, reaching the final.

Djokovic and Nishikori are tied at 2-2 in the H2H; Djokovic won their last match in Bercy, Paris in straight sets, 6-2 6-3.  It was a very comfortable victory that day, which may have had something to do with Nishikori playing against David Ferrer in the early hours the day before his semi-final with Djokovic and also dealing with an injury too.  Nishikori defeated Djokovic at the US Open in their most high profile match of the year.  Since then, Djokovic’s level and focus has been signifiantly improved and he will be the fresher of the pair, having only been on court for three hours and ten minutes through his first three matches.  Nishikori is likely to put up more resistance than he did against Djokovic in Paris, but it’s difficult to see him stopping an in-form and now confirmed, season ending world number one.

Prediction: Djokovic d. Nishikori in 2 sets

4 thoughts on “ATP World Tour Finals, Semi-Final Preview #1: Novak Djokovic v Kei Nishikori

  1. He wasn’t in the best form at the US Open series and he definitely wasn’t playing anywhere near his usual level against Nishikori and I really can’t see that happening again here if I’m honest.

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  2. I am not sure why the matches have mostly so one sided. The first serve percentage has also been low, e.g. below 50% in several matches? Because the court is slower are they trying too hard for a decisive first serve?

    I would rationalise that a slower court demands greater patience, tennis nouse and excellent ball striking on both wings. Is this why Federer and Djokovic have been so much better than the rest ?

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    • Djokovic said that this surface seems to make the service ball bounce almost the same no matter how fast it’s hit, making it easier to read and return. That’s probably why he has such success here.

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