Olympics 2021: Novak Djokovic vs Kei Nishikori preview, head-to-head & prediction

Novak Djokovic
Novak Djokovic
Rudra Biswas

Match details

Fixture: (1) Novak Djokovic [SRB] vs Kei Nishikori [JAP]

Date: 29 July 2021

Tournament: Olympics 2021

Round: Quarterfinals

Venue: Ariake Tennis Park, Tokyo, Japan

Category: Olympic Games

Surface: Outdoor hard

Match timing: Approx. 5 pm local time, 1.30 pm IST, 8 am GMT, 4 am ET

Live telecast: USA - NBC & Peacock TV | UK - BBC TV | India - Sony Liv

Novak Djokovic vs Kei Nishikori preview

World No. 1 Novak Djokovic, who is bidding to win a first-ever Olympic gold medal in Tokyo, will locks horns with home favorite Kei Nishikori in the quarterfinals on Thursday.

Djokovic booked his place in the quarterfinals with a straight-sets victory over Spain's Alejandro Davidovich Fokina on Wednesday. The Serb was in top form throughout the third-round encounter, breaking the World No. 34 four times en route to a comfortable 6-3, 6-1 victory.

The Serb, who has accumulated a 37-3 win-loss record in 2021 so far, is the overwhelming favorite to take home the gold medal in Tokyo. Claiming top honors in the Japanese city will also move him one step closer to achieving the Calendar Golden Slam.

Kei Nishikori
Kei Nishikori

Kei Nishikori, on the other hand, has been extremely inconsistent this season. The Japanese lost early in almost every tournament he entered at the start of the year. But he turned his fortunes around at Roland Garros, where he beat Karen Khachanov in the third round before losing to sixth seed Alexander Zverev.

Although Nishikori had a quiet grasscourt swing, the Japanese has struck a rich vein of form at the Olympics, which are being held in his home country.

The former World No. 4 rolled back the years with a vintage display against Andrey Rublev in the first round, defeating the Russian in straight sets. He followed it up with a three-set win over Marcos Giron and a commanding straight-sets triumph over Ilya Ivashka.

Novak Djokovic vs Kei Nishikori head-to-head

Novak Djokovic leads Kei Nishikori by a whopping 16-2 margin in their head-to-head. The Japanese's last victory against the Serb came way back in 2014 at the US Open.

Novak Djokovic greets Kei Nishikori after their match at the 2014 US Open
Novak Djokovic greets Kei Nishikori after their match at the 2014 US Open

Novak Djokovic vs Kei Nishikori prediction

Although Djokovic is the overwhelming favorite, he cannot afford to take Nishikori lightly. The Japanese has displayed some spectacular shotmaking in his matches at the Tokyo Games. That said, the 31-year-old has a mediocre serve, which will be put to the sword by a returner of Djokovic's caliber.

Djokovic has been in sensational form all week, putting up solid numbers on serve and return. The Serb's cross-court forehand could be the difference-maker in this match, considering the Japanese's forehand is his weaker shot and can leak errors when attacked consistently.

Prediction: Novak Djokovic to win in straight sets.

Edited by Arvind Sriram
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