In a rematch of the Olympics quarter-finals, Andy Murray will take on Kei Nishikori for a place in the last four of the US Open. While Novak Djokovic’s half of the draw saw surprise runs, there has been no such thing here with three of the four highest seeds in the quarter finals and the other being Olympic silver medallist Juan Martin Del Potro. See their H2H results and stats here.
Murray will have been heavily favoured to defeat Grigor Dimitrov in the previous round but few would have predicted the ease in which the second seed would have seen off the Bulgarian, who had been returning to form this fortnight. He broke seven times overall in the 6-1 6-2 6-2 win, taking full advantage of his opponents off-night.
It was a far cry from Murray’s sketchy performance in the previous round which saw him need four sets to beat Paolo Lorenzi. “Once I got up in the score, wasn’t giving him any free points, I could sense it was getting tough for him. I just wanted to keep my foot on the gas, which I didn’t really do the other day.” Murray said.
Meanwhile, Nishikori navigated a tricky tie with Ivo Karlovic with relative ease. Despite the big Croatian’s 21 aces, he never really troubled the sixth seed in Nishikori’s 6-3 6-4 7-6 win. Despite Murray’s great head to head record against Nishikori he is not writing off his opponent – “I have played well against him in the past. But, you know, he likes these conditions. He plays well in New York. He’s made his only slam final here.”
Nishikori followed that final up with a round one exit the next year but has bounced back to live up to this seeding this year. Given the 7-1 record and the ease with which Murray won only a few weeks back at the Olympics, it doesn’t seem like a surprise is on the cards on this occasion.
Prediction – Andy Murray in straight sets