It’s already time for the quarter-finals at the US Open Championships, and there is some blockbuster action on Day 2 of this stage! Several top seeds are playing tonight, with Serena Williams, Andy Murray and Juan Martin del Potro all ready to take to the court.
Murray will be playing for glory, Serena to hold her title, and Del Potro, perhaps, for redemption, for his comeback.
Here’s what you should expect:
Andy Murray vs Kei Nishikori
This one promises to be a riveting game. Both players have been playing excellent tennis this year, but it is quite obvious Murray has the upper hand here. Not only is he World No. 2 to Nishikori’s No. 7, the Scot comes in on back-to-back wins at Wimbledon and singles gold at the Olympic Games in Rio 2016 – where he beat Nishikori in the semi-finals.
And it’s looking like an uphill battle for Nishikori tonight – the pair have met 8 times in the past with Murray winning seven of those matches.
That said, Nishikori won his own maiden Olympic medal this year – the bronze, pulling off a strong win over Rafael Nadal en route. He also seriously taxed Novak Djokovic this year and has more than proven he can fight the best.
Nishikori and Murray’s rivalry, although one-sided from a distance, is not as lopsided as it appears. In the pair’s Davis Cup singles tie earlier this year, Nishikori took Murray to five sets – one of which Murray won in a tiebreak, showing just how close that match was.
All but one of the pair’s matches have been on hard courts. The pair have only played each other once before on the Grand Slam stage, at the Australian Open in 2012, with Murray ousting Nishikori in straight sets in the quarter-finals.
Murray has already significantly bettered his performance from 2015, where he lost in the fourth round to former top-10 player Kevin Anderson.
One cannot discount Nishikori’s tenacity and clean shot-making, and the Japanese has long had the ability to hold on through long, taxing matches even against power-hitting – as evinced in the semi-finals of the Rome Masters this year.
Given the stage, Nishikori won’t go down without a fight.
Prediction: Andy Murray to win this in four sets.