Miami R4 previews and picks: Nishikori vs. Goffin, Ferrer vs. Simon

KeiA blockbuster Tuesday lineup on the Grandstand in Miami includes Kei Nishikori vs. David Goffin and David Ferrer vs. Gilles Simon. The players are gunning for spots in the quarterfinals.

(12) Gilles Simon vs. (6) David Ferrer

Ferrer and Simon will be facing each other for the ninth time in their careers and for the second time this season when they battle for a place in the quarterfinals of the Miami Open on Tuesday. The head-to-head series stands at 6-2 in favor of Ferrer, who won their most recent meeting 6-2, 7-5, 5-7, 7-6(4) at the Australian Open. He has taken four of their last five encounters dating back to the fall of 2011, but Simon is a more respectable 2-2 against Ferrer on hard courts.

Both veterans are in outstanding form this season, with a combined record of 37-8 (Ferrer 21-2; Simon 16-6). Ferrer’s only disappointing result has come in a third-round exit at the Indian Wells Masters, where he traditionally underwhelms. The story in Miami is a much different one; the seventh-ranked Spaniard is 27-12 at this event with a runner-up finish in 2013. So far this fortnight he has easily disposed of Federico Delbonis and Lukas Rosol. Simon has advanced with victories over Mikhail Kukushkin and Alejandro Falla. The Frenchmn is playing well, but as his past history against Ferrer indicates, this is where his favorable draw ends.

Pick: Ferrer in 3

(4) Kei Nishikori vs. (18) David Goffin

Nishikori has been in abusive form as he aims for a second consecutive Miami semifinal appearance–and perhaps even a final or title. The world No. 5 crushed Mikhail Youzhny 6-2, 6-1 then cruised past Viktor Troicki 6-2, 6-2 to book his spot in the fourth round. Nishikori is now 20-4 for his 2015 campaign, with a title in Memphis and a quarterfinal showing at the Australian Open.

Up next for the Japanese star is a first-ever meeting with Goffin, who advanced to the last 16 by rolling over Borna Coric and Jerzy Janowicz. Goffin has endured some recent injury issues, but when healthy his form has been stellar. The 20th-ranked Belgian, who missed Indian Wells after a slow start to the year at less than 100 percent, climbed from No. 110 to 22nd in the rankings in 2014. Goffin is beginning to heat up again, but this could be a tough test for him especially because he has not faced anyone better than 37th in the world since this season’s opening week in Chennai.

Pick: Nishikori in 3

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