Japanese No. 1 Kei Nishikori will meet the Russian rising star Daniil Medvedev in the final of the 2019 Brisbane International as they fight for what will be the first title of this new year.
Watch & bet on Kei Nishikori v Daniil Medvedev final live in the ATP Brisbane International with bet365 here* on Sunday, January 6. The Nishikori v Medvedev final will begin around 7:00 pm local time (9:00 am BST)
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Medvedev’s Rise to Stardom
The 22-year-old rose to prominence in 2018 on the back of three singles titles in Sydney, Winston-Salem, and Tokyo. He ended the season as the World No. 16 with a win-loss record of 43-24. While Medvedev is not among the most consistent players on the ATP Tour, it is definitely worth remarking that he started the 2018 season as the World No. 65.
More impressively, in the ATP Sydney and Tokyo, he started the competition as a qualifier and moved all the way to the final to successfully be crowned as the champion. Needless to mention, 2018 was a landmark year for the young Russian and now, it stands to be seen if he can take his form a step further.
He has certainly started his 2019 ATP Tour on the right note. Having enjoyed a bye into the second round, he first stunned Andy Murray 7-5, 6-2. After that, he met the Canadian ace Milos Raonic and there as well, Medvedev emerged victorious with 6-7(2), 6-3, 6-4.
In the semifinal, he faced Jo-Wilfried Tsonga who was enjoying somewhat of a resurgence in Brisbane. However, it didn’t take long for the Russian to dispatch the Frenchman. In just a little under 90 minutes, he defeated Tsonga 7-6(6), 6-2, with an impressive first service win rate of 85%.
Nishikori’s Picture Perfect Run
The Japanese has enjoyed a pretty flawless run in Brisbane so far. As the second seed, he was given a bye into the second round where he met Denis Kudla. After moving past the American in straight sets, he met Grigor Dimitrov. Once again, he didn’t face a lot of trouble against the Bulgarian and won that match 7-5, 7-5.
In the semis, he met Jeremy Chardy where he produced a similar result.
Nishikori spent his previous season rebuilding his form following his wrist injury and exit from the top 20 in 2017. He skipped the Australian Open series and focussed on Challenger events to gain some momentum. He soon found his rhythm and it appeared that the Japanese was inching closer to winning his first singles title since 2016.
However, on the contrary, he had to settle for runners-up trophy on no less than three occasions – Monte Carlo Masters, ATP Tokyo, and ATP Vienna. Nonetheless, his ability to reach the penultimate rounds in the US Open, Paris Masters, Wimbledon, and the Italian Masters helped him break into the top 10.
Nishikori v Medvedev Predictions
The head to head tally between the two players is tied at 1-1. Both of those matches were played in 2018 itself. They first met in the second round in Monte Carlo, where the Japanese won in straight sets. They crossed paths once again in the final of ATP Tokyo, where against all odds, Medvedev delivered a shocking upset to win his third title of the season.
Even though Nishikori will start this game as the favorite, Medvedev will certainly fancy his chances here. This is one fixture that is too close to call and it can very well go to three sets.