Dominic Thiem and Kei Nishikori will go head to head in their final robin-round match of ATP Finals 2018, with this being a must-win game for the Japanese.
The Dominic Thiem v Kei Nishikori 2018 ATP Finals robin-round match will be played on Thursday, November 15, at 2:00 pm local time (1:00 pm GMT). Watch the Dominic Thiem v Kei Nishikori live streaming here.
Dominic Thiem v Kei Nishikori Head to Head
Thiem and Nishikori have played against each other a total of four times in their career so far. The Japanese leads 3-1 in that tally, with his most recent win over Thiem coming in the quarterfinal of this year’s ATP Vienna. Nishikori won that match in straight sets with 6-3, 6-1.
The two players also met each other in the fourth round of French Open 2018. Back then, it was Thiem who sailed to a comfortable victory in four sets. This may have been an expected result, considering that the Austrian is particularly good on clay surfaces.
Thiem’s London Jinx
This year, the World No. 8 qualified for the ATP Finals for the third year running. However, just like in the last two editions, Thiem failed to perform this time around too. After two consecutive defeats, he has effectively failed to reach the semifinals in London for the third consecutive time.
Nonetheless, it is worth mentioning that this season, his form didn’t suffer after the US Open – something that kept happening to the Austrian over the last couple of years. He arrived at the Finals with a win-loss record of 53-18 and three singles titles.
Thiem started his campaign against the South African Kevin Anderson to whom he lost 6-3, 7-6(10). It was a good attempt by the Austrian but Anderson had the upper hand throughout the match.
His second match in London was against the World No. 3 Roger Federer – a must win game for the two players. This time, he incurred a far severe defeat – he lost 6-2, 6-3 to the Swiss in just a little over an hour. Needless to mention, Thiem was absolutely off his game – he committed 34 unforced errors in comparison to Federer’s 11.
In the build-up to the Finals, the 2018 French Open runner-up reached the quarter-finals at the Flushing Meadows and followed that superb run with a winning feat in the St. Petersburg Open. Most recently, he reached the semifinals of Rolex Paris Masters before succumbing to the eventual champion Karen Khachanov.
Nishikori’s Quest to Reach the Final Four
The Japanese started the 2018 ATP Season outside the top 20 but has done a brilliant job of breaking into the top 10. Interestingly, he earlier missed out on qualifying for the ATP Finals by a small margin but Rafael Nadal’s withdrawal paved way for the Japanese.
Nishikori hasn’t won a singles title since 2016. However, despite this dearth of ATP singles titles, he did just enough to stay in the top 10 for most of the time. This season alone, Nishikori reached the finals on three separate occasions but failed to go the distance.
In the Monte-Carlo Masters, he lost to Rafael Nadal while in the ATP Tokyo, he incurred a shocking defeat against Daniil Medvedev. As for his performance in Vienna, his winning run was halted by Kevin Anderson in the final. Apart from this, he was also the semifinalist in the US Open and a quarterfinalist at the Wimbledon.
Nishikori started his campaign in London on a terrific note – he defeated Federer in his opening match in straight sets with 7-6(4), 6-3. However, the Swiss had a pretty frustrating evening himself and the Japanese was quick to capitalise on his errors.
In his next match against Anderson, he was thrashed 6-0, 6-1 in just an hour. Nishikori was broken five times by the South African without getting a break-point opportunity himself. He also committed twice as many unforced errors.
Nishikori v Thiem – Who will win here?
It is fair to say that the two players are evenly matched. However, Nishikori has the edge here owing to the lead in the head to head tally and Thiem’s poor form. At the same time, this a must-win match for the Japanese and theoretically speaking, Thiem can still qualify for the semifinals.
For this to happen, he will have to defeat Nishikori by a healthy margin and hope that Federer loses to Anderson. With three players tied 1-2 in the group, it will come down to the number of games won and lost. However, no player in the history of the tournament has qualified for the semis after losing more than one match in the robin-round.