Nitto ATP Finals Preview & Prediction: Kei Nishikori vs Dominic Thiem

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The penultimate match in Group Lleyton Hewitt and potentially the last match by either player at 2018 Nitto ATP Finals will be contested by Kei Nishikori and Dominic Thiem.

Nishikori scored an impressive straight sets win over Roger Federer in his opening match before being dismantled by Kevin Anderson 6-0 6-1. That equalled his worst loss of his career, and I have to say he was a huge disappointment in that match. He took a lot of confidence from that win over Federer and of course his recent victory over Anderson in Bercy. Nishikori needs to win in straight sets at the very least to have room for comfort, otherwise he will be sweating on a result in the Anderson vs Federer match later during the day.
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Dominic Thiem, meanwhile, is still searching for his first victory, and despite suffering two defeats he still mathematically has a chance to qualify, albeit very unlikely. That, combined with his three defeats to Nishikori in the past can only mean one thing – an early holiday ticket. He last played Nishikori in his home country at Erste Bank Open in Vienna, and lost in straight sets.

Semifinal Scenarios

Prediction: I was going to pick Nishikori to win this match, but after taking that beating at the hands of Kevin Anderson, I doubt he will recover in time to take out Thiem in straight sets. Yes he did beat Thiem in Austria a little over a month ago, but the manner of his loss to Anderson will be damaging for his confidence. The positives for the Japanese though is that Thiem is unlikely to fire even half the number of aces that Anderson conjured. The Austrian also seems to take so much time in executing his shots on both wings. However, I think Thiem will buoyed to get a result, and that will keep Nishikori glued to his screen later during the night.

Pick: Thiem in 3

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