By Niall Clarke
- Novak Djokovic vs Kei Nishikori preview
- Head to head: 6-2
MIAMI, USA- Novak Djokovic will battle Kei Nishikori in the Miami Open final on Sunday.
The world number one is in search of a record equalling sixth title in Miami, 28th Masters 1000, and become the first man to win the Indian Wells-Miami double three years in a row.
Nishkori on the other hand will contest only his second final at this level and is seeking his first Masters title. The Japanese was a set and a break up two years a go in Madrid but injury meant the title went to Rafael Nadal.
Both players came through their semi final matches without dropping a set. Djokovic defeated David Goffin 7-6 (7-5) 6-4 in the heat, whilst Nishikori beat Nick Kyrgios 6-3, 7-5 in the evening session.
The Serb was quick to recognise the humid conditions in his post match press conference.
“It was evident that we both struggled with conditions,” said the 28 year old.
“Physically, it was a great battle. I think we were both trying to catch some breath after some points. It was windy, it was warm, it was humid.”
The top seed came back from a break down in the first set, before Goffin missed a golden opportunity with the open court gaping at 4-4 in the tie-break.
“I was on the back foot in that point, he was dictating,” said Djokovic. “He came to the net and I anticipated where he might smash the ball, he framed it a little bit.
“I had to defend well, which I think I did at the end of the tie-break.”
Nishikori put on a clinic against Kyrgios, using a nice blend of attack and defence to move the 20 year old around the court. His early ball striking forced Kyrgios to be rushed and therefore unable to implement his game.
The Japanese number one has defeated Djokovic in two of their eight meetings, including a four set win in the US Open semi finals in 2014. However the world number one dominated Nishikori at the Australian Open for a straight sets win in their previous meeting
“It’s going to be tough,” said Nishikori.
“We just played in Australia and I lost in straight sets, so I need to do something better.”
Nishikori bares quite the resemblance to Djokovic on the court. Both are extremely quick, have excellent returns of serve and both hit a marvellous two handed backhand.
However the world number one does almost everything better the Japanese star, and on a slow court like Miami Djokovic is even harder to hit through than usual. Nishikori’s previous two victories came on faster courts where he was able to hand some success in hitting through Djokovic.
In these conditions, it will have to take a brilliant Nishikori performance or a shocker from the world number one for the upset to happen.
Prediction: Djokovic in straight sets
The Miami Open final starts at 3PM BST.
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