Australian Open 2019, quarterfinals preview: Nishikori has a tough task against Djokovic, Raonic the favorite against Pouille
Wednesday at the Australian Open will see the remaining two quarterfinals to be played in the men’s singles. World number one and six-time champion Novak Djokovic takes on Kei Nishikori for a place in the last four, whereas Milos Raonic of Canada will clash with Frenchman Lucas Pouille for the last semifinal spot.
Novak Djokovic vs Kei Nishikori
Djokovic is 15-2 against Nishikori and has won the last 14 meetings with the Japanese star. Djokovic is looking for his seventh title in Melbourne and 15th Grand Slam title overall, and will be highly motivated for this match.
Moreover, Nishikori has to be tired from his last match against Pablo Carreno Busta of Spain. The Japanese star won that one 7-6 in the fifth set after five hours of grueling tennis. He also had to come through two other five-set matches before this quarterfinal match-up with the World No. 1.
Milos Raonic vs Lucas Pouille
The former World No. 3 Raonic is the best bet in this one. He has moved into the quarters with some great wins over Aussie Nick Kyrgios, Swiss Stan Wawrinka and German Alexander Zverev, and is 3-0 in the head-to-head with his next opponent Pouille.
I’ll bet on a straight sets win for the big Canadian, particularly since Pouille has not even managed to take a set from Raonic in any of their previous meetings.
The Raonic vs Pouille match is projected to start around 15.00 local time in Melbourne, and Djokovic and Nishikori would enter the Rod Laver arena no earlier than 19.30 local time.
On Tuesday, World No. 2 Rafael Nadal dropped just nine games to NextGen star Frances Tiafoe to book his place in the semifinals. The Spanish megastar will next face the 20-year-old Greek sensation Stefanos Tsitsipas, who came through after a four-set victory over the in-form Roberto Bautista Agut of Spain.