Kei Nishikori will look to get back into rhythm when he takes on Ivo Karlovic in the second round of the 2019 Australian Open.
Watch & bet on Kei Nishikori v Ivo Karlovic live with bet365 here* on Thursday, January 17. The Nishikori v Karlovic match timings will be announced soon.
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‘Lucky’ Nishikori Hopes to Continue Impressive 2018 Return
Eighth seed Japanese, Kei Nishikori, entered the Australian Open on the back of a strong return from injury in 2018, and a good start to 2019.
A semi-finalist at the 2018 US Open, alongside quarter finals at Wimbledon, finals at Tokyo and Monte Carlo, and the final eight at the Paris and Shanghai Masters 1000, enabled him to qualify for the year end ATP Tour Finals in London.
This capped a great year, which began with a return from injury and playing the ATP Challengers, and ended being ranked in the top 10. 2019 started well for Nishikori as well, with him winning the ATP 250 at Brisbane, after losing 9 consecutive finals, dating back to 2016.
Nishikori had a close escape at the first round of the Australian Open, against Polish qualifier Kamil Majchrzak. The Pole was up two sets to love, but then suffered cramps, losing 15 of the next 17 games and having to retire in the fifth set.
Nishikori has made it to the second week of the Australian Open six times in a row. A great timer of the ball, who takes his shots early, and puts the opponent on the defense; Nishikori is able to negate big servers with his strong return and movement, that is among the best on tour.
Karlovic: Can The Big Server Keep Going?
Big serving Croat Ivo Karlovic continues to defy age, and at 39, became the oldest man to win a match at the Australian Open, since Ken Rosewall in 1978. Ivo beat Poland’s Herbet Hurkacz in the first round, in 4 tie-breaks.
Karlovic has been consistent on the tour, making latter stages of ATP tournaments, and regularly featuring in the round of 32 at the majors. The Croat got his 2019 campaign off to a good start, making the finals of the ATP 250 at the Maharashtra Open, losing to South African Kevin Anderson.
At 6 feet 11 inches, Karlovic is one of the tallest professional players on the circuit. Karlovic has the record for the most aces ever on tour in the Open era, and at one time had the record for the fastest recorded serve.
With a huge powerful serve, and an arm reach wider than most, Karlovic’s serve and volley game has held him in good stead throughout his career.
Nishikori V Karlovic – Who Will Win?
Nishikori leads the head-to-head narrowly at 3-2, winning the last three meetings. The pair have, however, not met since the 2016 US Open, which Nishikori won in straight sets.
The match will be a clash of two different playing styles. Nishikori’s strong return of serve, and movement, has encountered the big servers successfully. The Japanese has been in very good form, despite a hiccup in the first round, here in Melbourne. Karlovic will need to serve consistently well to pose a threat.
While Karlovic is a danger to any opponent, Nishikori should have too many tools for the aging Croat. Karlovic can take a tight set off the Japanese in a tie-break, but Nishikori to win in 3 to 4 sets.
You can watch & bet on Kei Nishikori v Ivo Karlovic live with bet365 here on Thursday, January 17.