Marin Cilic and Kei Nishikori will face off in a rematch of the 2014 final on Wednesday afternoon, with a place in the semi final on the line. It seems highly likely the winner will play Novak Djokovic after John Millman’s shock win over Roger Federer in that quarter of the draw.
It’s been fairly easy for Nishikori through four rounds, with just one set dropped so far. He would have been relieved to have avoided Alexander Zverev in the fourth round and that was proven with the ease of his victory over Philipp Kohlschreiber. An early break set the tone as he cruised to a 6-3 6-2 7-5 win over the unseeded German. “I think I played good tennis to not play his tennis. I think he was playing good, too, but I think I was playing little better and tried to stepping in a lot and playing aggressive and played, the way I wanted to.” he said.
Cilic is back in the quarter finals of a slam after his shock loss early at Wimbledon. He is becoming far more consistent at the highest level, now making a fifth quarter final in his last seven slams. He toughed out an opening set tiebreak against David Goffin before easing to a straight sets win against the Belgian. He took advantage of his opponent’s later struggles on serve, breaking four times over the next two sets.
“Extremely a solid player from the back of the court. Incredible backhand. Great mover, as well. He’s got sweet timing of the ball. Hitting it, for his size, incredibly quick, incredibly fast.” an extremely complimentary Cilic said of his opponent. While the Croatian won their most high profile encounter, Nishikori does actually lead the head to head 8-6 and 6-5 on hard courts.
“I feel the ball was a bit slower, heavier. I feel also there are a little bit more breaks of serve this year than usually. I’m not sure, that’s just my feeling. I’m feeling good on the court and playing well, which is most important.” Cilic added on how he is feeling this fortnight. The conditions may lean in favour of Nishikori but with Cilic developing his reputation as a big match player, he should be seen as a narrow favourite going into this one.
Prediction – Marin Cilic in four sets