World Tour Finals round-robin preview and pick: Federer vs. Nishikori

Control of Group B in London will be the reward for either Roger Federer or Kei Nishikori on Tuesday. They are coming off respective victories over Milos Raonic and Any Murray.

Roger Federer and Kei Nishikori will be going head-to-head for the fifth time in their careers when they do battle in the second stage of World Tour Finals Group B round-robin action on Tuesday afternoon.

They have split their four previous encounters at two wins apiece, including 1-1 on hard courts. Sandwiched in between two victories for Federer, Nishikori’s triumphs came last year on the clay courts of Madrid (6-4, 1-6, 6-2) and earlier this season in the Miami quarterfinals (3-6, 7-5, 6-4). Their most recent meeting took place on the grass of Halle, where Federer prevailed 6-3, 7-6(4).
Fed 1
Both men got off to a 1-0 start on Sunday and the winner of this showdown will be in perfect shape–if not clinched by the end of the day–for a place in the semifinals. Nishikori kicked off the week with a 6-4, 6-4 defeat of Andy Murray before Federer downed Milos Raonic 6-1, 7-6(0).

Federer has lost only one match since the U.S. Open (to Raonic in Paris), a stretch that includes titles in Shanghai and Basel. Nishikori also owns two titles in his fall collection–Kuala Lumpur and Tokyo. Combined, they are a whopping 28-3 since the Grand Slam season ended.

As their past history against each other indicates, this one should be competitive–especially with each competitor playing so well right now. Nishikori causes for problems for Federer by playing right on top of the baseline and taking away his opponent’s timing, most affecting the Swiss’ one-handed backhand. On the other hand, the world No. 5 served at a mere 46 percent against Murray and double-faulted eight times. Federer fired five aces, double-faulted twice, and never dropped serve versus Raonic. If Nishikori is unable to dictate baseline play–and he won’t be able to if those serving trends continue–he will be in serious trouble.

Pick: Federer in 3

18 Comments on World Tour Finals round-robin preview and pick: Federer vs. Nishikori

  1. Hope this is more interesting to watch than the matches played so far. I think it was rite who predicted this year’s WTF would be a sleep fest


    • vamosrafa,

      Yes, it was a disappointing performance from Nishi. The commentators were really getting on him for missing so many shots that he always makes.

      Honestly, I stopped watching the replay because it just wasn’t interesting enough for me.

  2. Wasn’t able to watch this afternoon but the scoreline suggests that was the fifth singles match that was underwhelming…………..thank goodness for the doubles.

    • Apologies. Thought my first comment had not gone through. Have to keep clearing history and passwords because of a problem with buffering for TennisTV and forget each time to re-sign in here hence the Anonymous comments.

  3. Rafa is missed, even Pete Bodo says so.

    Federer reminds us why we need Rafa

    November, 11, 2014
    NOV 11 12:40 pm ET
    By Peter Bodo |

    In truth, Nadal has never loved the WTF, and he survived the preliminaries to play a final just twice — losing on both occasions. Nadal may not always have found his A-game in the grand finale, but he always brought his A-effort. A few of this year’s players might take a cue from that as the rest of this event plays out.

  4. ‘A few of this year’s players might take a cue from that as the rest of this event plays’ out..

    Good for Bodo for spelling out this year’s WTF is a turning into a Mickey Mouse event.

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