Nitto ATP Finals Preview & Prediction: Roger Federer vs Kei Nishikori

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Even though the No.1 ranking has been settled prior to the start of the tournament, there’s still a lot at stake for the 8 men who have earned their places to play at 02 Arena. Among them is Switzerland’s Roger Federer who will be looking to pass Nadal at No.2 and will be gunning for title No.7 at this year’s event which will be his 100th tour level title. The second seed has played at the ATP Finals every year since 2002 with the exception being that injury-blighted 2016 season. His opening match during the night session is not easy by any stretch of imagination. He faces Japan’s finest Kei Nishikori whose surge up the rankings has been nothing short of magical.

We can talk of Djokovic’s comeback from the dead as the ultimate story of the year, but I also think Nishikori’s return from injury should also be lauded as another very inspiring comeback. Despite not technically qualifying until after Del Potro and Nadal withdrawing from the event, it is still a terrific effort by Nishikori to make the top 10. The “Special K” returned from a five month injury lay-off and participated at two challenger events earlier this year in an effort to accumulate match fitness. He has since cemented his place among the best players in the world again. Nishikori’s biggest enemy is of course his body. At any moment it could break down, but for the moment we hope it will hold up.
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Prediction: The good thing about the end year tournaments is that you could play each other multiple times and there is absolutely no time to figure out the tactics. These two met recently in Shanghai and then in Paris Masters, with Federer winning on both occasions. Nishikori beating Federer is not something you hear very often. Federer is 37 and is a favorite for this match which is remarkable. His desire and motivation to keep playing is what leaves us all in awe. I think he will be super motivated to get title number 100. I think Nishikori will take a set this time, but that is the maximum he will do to beat Federer.

Pick: Federer in 3

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