Following solid displays in their quarter-final showings, Andy Murray and Kei Nishikori will meet to determine who will advance to the final of the Mutua Madrid Open. Both players are in fine form heading into their fifth overall encounter on the tour. Murray leads the head-to-head series 3-1, yet the Japanese No. 1 won their most recent meeting at the World Tour Finals last season.
Seeded second at this year’s tournament, and with a title to his name on clay heading into the semis, Murray advanced in impressive fashion with a straight sets win against Canada’s Milos Raonic. The Briton hit 19 winners and saved all five of the break points he faced during the match to win the encounter 6-4,7-5 in one hour and 41 minutes.
“I feel like I’ve been moving well,” said Murray. “The first couple of weeks on the clay, I tried to work on it quite a lot in my training block before I started playing the tournaments.
“Because I feel healthy this year, I’m not worrying about my back or worrying about things when I am put in difficult positions on court. That obviously gives me a bit more confidence in the movement.”
In the last match on court that day, Kei Nishikori and David Ferrer met in a rematch of their 2014 meeting in Madrid yet the match could not have been more different. While the outcome was the same, a straight sets win for Kei, it was a far easier meeting this time around. Nishikori dominated the encounter, as he struck 22 winners and converted five break points to earn the victory in one hour and 12 minutes.
This marks the fifth time that Murray and Nishikori will meet on the professional tour with Murray leading the series 3-1. While Murray has performed better historically in this rivalry, it is Nishikori who won their most recent meeting last season at the World Tour Finals and is in fit enough shape to add to that this week in Madrid.
Prediction: Andy Murray in Three Sets