Basel QF previews and predictions: Nishikori vs. Del Potro, Cilic vs. Granollers

A blockbuster quarterfinal on Friday in Basel will pit Kei Nishikori against Juan Martin Del Potro. Meanwhile, Marcel Granollers booked his spot alongside Marin Cilic in the last eight by upsetting Jack Sock.

(WC) Juan Martin Del Potro vs. (3) Kei Nishikori

Del Potro has just kept winning and winning and he heads into quarterfinal action at the Swiss Indoors Basel on Friday. Even before last week, his 2016 campaign already included a silver medal at the Rio Olympics and a quarterfinal run at the U.S. Open. A five-set upset of Andy Murray in the Davis Cup semifinals also helped Argentina topple Great Britain and book a spot in next month’s final versus Croatia. The 27-year-old Argentine captured his first title of 2016 last week in Stockholm, where he did not drop a set in victories over John Isner, Nicolas Almagro, Ivo Karlovic, Grigor Dimitrov, and Jack Sock. Del Potro now finds himself in the Basel quarters following straight-set defeats of Robin Haase and David Goffin.

Up next for the world No. 42 is a showdown against Nishikori, who has never beaten Del Potro in four tries. In fact, Del Potro is also a dominant 10-0 in total sets against Nishikori with wins in 2008 (U.S. Open), 2009 (San Jose), and 2012 (Wimbledon and the London Olympics). Nishikori, of course, has established himself at the top of the game since he last faced Del Potro and for the most part has remained healthy. The world No. 5 is a stellar 54-16 this year and on his way back to the World Tour Finals. So far in Basel he has taken out Dusan Lajovic and Paolo Lorenzi in straight sets. Nishikori is a decent 7-2 lifetime in Basel, but Del Potro is 18-3 and on a 12-match winning streak with titles in 2012 and 2013.

Pick: Del Potro in 3

(4) Marin Cilic vs. Marcel Granollers

Cilic and Granollers will be squaring off for the eighth time in their careers on Friday. The head-to-head series stands at 6-1 in favor of Cilic, who is 4-1 at Granollers’ expense on hard courts. They have not faced each other since the 2014 Australian Open, where the Croat got the job done 4-6, 4-6, 6-3, 6-3, 6-2. Two previous indoor encounters have been split; Cilic scored a 6-4, 7-6(2) victory at the 2008 Paris Masters before Granollers won 3-6, 6-3, 7-5 at the 2011 Valencia event.

the 2014 U.S. Open champion

This week’s No. 4 seed appeared to be in line for a rematch with Jack Sock, who beat him twice this summer (in the Davis Cup quarterfinals and at the U.S. Open). Granollers, however, followed up a three-set defeat of Henri Laaksonen by clobbering Sock 6-3, 6-1 on Thursday. The 39th-ranked Spaniard also advanced two rounds in Shanghai but his fall swing also includes opening exits in Tokyo and Moscow. Cilic is through to the Basel quarterfinals following straight-set wins over Mikhail Youzhny and Moscow champion Pablo Carreno Busta. In solid but unspectacular form, the world No. 12 is making a late push for London and should be able to continue his success against Granollers.

Pick: Cilic in 2

15 Comments on Basel QF previews and predictions: Nishikori vs. Del Potro, Cilic vs. Granollers

  1. Ben Rothenberg ‏@BenRothenberg 2m2 minutes ago
    Winning lots of backhand-to-backhand rallies, starting with the first point, Kei Nishikori beats Juan Martin del Potro 7-5, 6-4.

    Top players playing well should beat Delpo 2.0.


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