Japanese No. 1 Kei Nishikori is once again through to the finals of the U.S. National Indoor Tennis Championships, where he will meet Croatia’s Ivo Karlovic for the third time on the professional tour. Nishikori is yet to ever defeat Karlovic, having lost their other two meetings.
Defending champion Kei Nishikori is through to the finals in Memphis following a quick victory in his semi-final contest against Michael Russell. The world No. 16, who defeated Spaniard Feliciano Lopez in last year’ hit 6 aces and won 79% of his first service points to secure the 6-3, 6-2 victory over Russell in just over an hour of court-time. Apart from a slight stutter to Bogomolov Jr. in the quarter-finals, where he dropped the opening set and was forced to rally for a three set victory, it has been an impressive week for the Japanese No. 1 heading into his first ATP World Tour Final of the season.
“It’s going to be a tough opponent especially Ivo being indoors like this,” Nishikori said of the chance to play Karlovic. “You don’t get many returns easy. But we’ll see.”
Ivo Karlovic defeated Yen-Hsun Lu on Saturday afternoon, when the Taipei native retired at the start of the second set. Karlovic dropped one game in the opening set and breezed into his first final of the season in 29 minutes. His last title came in Bogota last year and he will be looking to add to that list tomorrow afternoon in Memphis.
“When I knew he was hurting I just tried to put the ball in the court, and I was also a little bit lucky,” Karlovic said. “I mean for him I know that it is difficult to have to stop, but injuries are part of tennis. I know. I had a lot of them.”
Karlovic holds two victories over the Japanese No. 1, including a Davis Cup victory in 2012. He will look to maintain that undefeated streak when he challenges for his first title of the season.
Prediction: Kei Nishikori in Three Sets