By Ros Satar, at the Nitto ATP World Tour Finals

  • Roger Federer: Nadal will be missed but what to do?
  • Faces Kei Nishikori in his ATP World Tour Finals opener
LONDON, UK – Roger Federer avoids landing in a draw with Novak Djokovic as he faces Kei Nishikori in the opening round of the Nitto ATP World Tour Finals.

 

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Roger Federer: ‘Nadal will be missed’

With it looking like the good old days with the Big Three together wrestling the World No. 1 spot between then, the race for the year end No. 1 was lost on Paris, and now Roger Federer can play free as his 100th title is still potentially on the horizon.

With Rafael Nadal withdrawing, ostensibly from the abdominal issue that caused him to withdraw from Paris but taking the opportunity to have ankle surgery for another issue, Federer finds himself at the head of Group Lleyton Hewitt.

He said, talking to the press ahead of the Nitto ATP World Tour Finals: “It obviously affected me because I can’t be in a group with Novak. It reshuffles the entire draw. In terms of excitement and star power and legendary status he’s going to be missed. But what to do? You move on and wish him the best.”

 

READ MORE | Nitto ATP World Tour Finals 2018 | Latest Schedule & Draws

Nitto ATP World Tour Finals 2018 | Latest Schedule & Draws

 

 

Federer [2] v Kei Nishikori [7] | H2H: Federer leads 7-2

Kei Nishikori in the first round at Roland Garros, 2018

Kei Nishikori in the first round at Roland Garros, 2018 | (Photo by Mike Frey/Getty Images)

With two victories in World Tour Finals in amongst a commanding head to head, Federer will no doubt head into his first match with a fair degree of confidence. Despite maybe looking a little rusty on his first tour match since a fourth-round exit at the US Open, he has looked steadier each tournament.

He was unfortunate to come up against Novak Djokovic in the semi-finals in Paris, but what we were treated to was a thrilling match that could well have been a final – indeed could well be a rematch final to come this week.

Kei Nishikori has quietly and efficiently made good progress at this event. He reached the semi-final on his debt in 2014, and in 2016. However, twice he has faced Federer in the season ending finale, and despite taking a set off him the second time around, he has ended up on the losing end.

While Federer indoors is at his best, Nishikori has a few tricks up his sleeve. What he lacks in power he makes up for with consistency and he uses his agility around the court to wear down his opponents.

After missing the start of the season through injury, he is finishing the year at quite a click, making finals in Vienna and Tokyo.

Prediction: Federer in three sets.

Federer and Nishikori are scheduled not before 8pm.

 

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