In a repeat of last year’s magnificent US Open quarter-final, Stan Wawrinka and Kei Nishikori are set to meet once again at a Grand Slam. Nishikori came from two sets to one down to beat Wawrinka, 3-6 7-5 7-6(7) 6-7(5) 6-4 in New York. It was a gripping match and had a surprising conclusion because Nishikori had been involved in one of the latest ever finishes at the US Open in the previous round, beating Milos Raonic in five sets. Nishikori comes into this match having expended much less energy compared to New York. The Japanese star has dropped two sets along the way to Ivan Dodig in the second round and Steve Johnson in the third round. In what could have been a ten hour slugfest against David Ferrer in the fourth round, it turned out to be a very one-sided affair. Nishikori beat Ferrer, 6-3 6-3 6-3 in just two hours and seven minutes. It was shorter than three of their four clashes last year, which were all best of three sets. It was Nishikori’s seventh win over Ferrer, but the FIRST time he has ever beaten Ferrer in straight matches.
Wawrinka lost his first set of the tournament but exacted revenge on Guillermo Garcia-Lopez who had beaten him at Roland Garros last year in a shock first round exit. Wawrinka beat Garcia-Lopez in four sets, 7-6(2) 6-4 4-6 7-6(8) in two hours and 22 minutes. I’ve barely heard anything about Stan this week as he has pretty much breezed into the quarters. He had a solid test against GGL, who had set points in the fourth set to take it into a decider.
A Wawrinka v Nishikori match always presents it’s problems for me… I have barely pictures of either and have to resort to a picture of Stan’s back… AND he has his eyes closed! I’ll be on a mission at Wimbledon to hunt both players down for some pictures. Apart from their US Open match which i’ve already discussed, Wawrinka beat Nishikori twice in 2012. I think the courts suit both players’s games, but definitely Stan after watching some of his performances over the last two years. I think the progressive level of opponents that Nishikori has had to play will help him, plus the win in New York will have been a huge confidence boost. Fancy five sets, but i’m feeling good about Kei right now.
Prediction: Nishikori d. Wawrinka in 5 sets