After passing through their quarter-final obstacles, respective national No. 1s Kei Nishikori and Milos Raonic will meet to determine who will advance to the final berth on Sunday. This is the sixth time that the two competitors will meet on the professional tour, with Nihiskori leading the head to head series 4-1.
Nishikori dispatched a motivated Bernard Tomic 6-0, 6-4 to reach the final four in Brisbane. He managed to win 92% of his first service points and convert four break point opportunities to close out the match in 58 minutes of court time. He will certainly be the fresher of the two semi-finalists, as his opponent was forced to play three sets on Friday.
Faced with a fellow big-server on Friday, Canadian star Milos Raonic advanced to the Brisbane International semi-final with a 7-6(5), 3-6, 7-6(2) win over Sam Groth. His Australian adversary struck 22 aces, seven more than Raonic’s count for the match, and managed to break him in the second set to force a decider. It was Groth’s second match against a Top 10 player.
“I think he played better than I did, and I sort of got through with experience and sort of just grit in that match,” said Raonic.
Groth agreed with his opponent’s rationale.
“I actually think I had the better of the match until both tie-breakers,” said Groth. “I think that’s the next step for me. Against these better guys, they don’t give you anything in the big moments. I maybe gave him one or two points. Someone with a quality serve like Milos, you can’t afford to do that.”
This marks the sixth time that Raonic and Nishikori will cross paths on the tour, with Kei leading the series 4-1. He is also 3-0 against the Canadian on hard courts, which does not bode well for Raonic’s chances on Saturday. He has also won their last two meetings on the tour; once to reach the US Open quarter-finals and once to lift the Tokyo title near the end of the 2014 season.
Prediction: Kei Nishikori in Three Sets