US Open Day 6 Men’s Predictions Including Novak Djokovic vs Kei Nishikori

Novak Djokovic US Open 2021 forehand

Novak Djokovic battles Japanese #1 Kei Nishikori at the US Open, Americans Reilly Opelka and Jack Sock also look to advance in New York. Our panelists Steen Kirby, Damian Kust, and Jack Edward offer their predictions for every third round match including Gael Monfils vs Jannik Sinner.

Novak Djokovic vs Kei Nishikori

Steen: The incredible 15-2 h2h speaks for itself, including a routine win for Djokovic at the Tokyo Olympics. Nishikori started this h2h series up 2-1 and hasn’t won a match since, Djokovic won his second round match with ease while Nishikori needed five sets to advance. It would be a shock if Nishikori won this match, and a surprise if he took a set, Nishikori’s low confidence against Djokovic is going to make it hard for him to compete. Djokovic in 3

Jack: After Kei Nishikori defeated Novak Djokovic on the hard-courts of Flushing Meadows seven years ago, the world #1 has held an eternal grudge. That’s 16 matches in a row and 14 consecutive sets on outdoor hard-courts. With so much on the line, in a head-to-head that heavily favours Djokovic, after a mammoth five-setter between Nishikori and Mackenzie McDonald – those two numbers can only increase to 17. Djokovic in 3

Damian: It’s super unlucky for Nishikori to keep running into Djokovic at this point. Since he took out the Serbian at the 2014 edition of this event, he lost the next four Grand Slam meetings with him without even being competitive. Same story at the Olympics. Djokovic in 3

Andreas Seppi vs Oscar Otte

Steen: Seppi is turning back the clock, after a five set win against Marton Fucsovics, he upset Hubert Hurkacz for a third round berth. Otte is on a fantastic run as a qualifier and either player will be thrilled to reach the second week of the US Open. Seppi’s experience should shine here if he isn’t exhausted, the 37 year old has yet another chance to reach the 4th round of the US Open for the first time and I think he will seize the day, given his German opponent has never made the second week of a slam. Seppi in 4

Jack: Oscar Otte has proved that Wimbledon wasn’t a one-off. At 28 years old, the German is finding his best tennis, a brand of controlled aggression that has been very effective against different play styles during the tournament. The veteran, Andreas Seppi, plays in a similar manner to Otte’s last opponent, Denis Kudla, and that ended in a comfortable win. Seppi’s done well to get here but this is Otte’s time to shine. Otte in 4

Damian: What an unlikely third-round pair. Seppi’s gotta be running on fumes by this point. It’s the first time Otte got this far in a Grand Slam so he could definitely get tight, but he’s playing well enough to punch his way through the Italian veteran. Otte in 4

Alexander Zverev vs Jack Sock

Steen: Sock surprisingly leads the h2h 2-1, Zverev is up to 13 wins in a row and seems to have put his past early round struggles in slams behind him with two routine wins in New York thus far. The US Open crowd should be behind the home player Sock, a former top 10 player coming off a five set win against Alexander Bublik, that’s most likely not going to be enough though as Zverev is playing the sharpest tennis of his career right now. Zverev in 3

Jack: Jack Sock has done well to find winning form but against Alexander Bublik, he showed how rusty he still is. When serving for the second set, some errant shots complicated a match that could have been over far earlier. Alexander Zverev won’t let Sock away with any such lapses in concentration – I can’t see this getting sticky for the in-form player.  Zverev in 3

Damian: Sock can play some lights out tennis in front of American crowds, but Zverev will be extremely tough to stop in a best-of-five match. The German has somehow managed to set his personal life aside and keep playing outstanding tennis. Zverev in 3

Nikoloz Basilashvili vs Reilly Opelka

Steen: Basilashvili made quick work of his first two opponents, Opelka has done the same, setting up what looks to be a high quality third round match. The big serving Opelka has been great all Summer and will have home support, the Georgian player would match his best ever result in a slam with a win, but I expect it will be Opelka’s serve that wins him the match and puts him into week 2 of a slam for the first time. Opelka in 5

Jack: Nikoloz Basilashvili can be unplayable when he’s got some rhythm – unfortunately, his next opponent will give him absolutely no rhythm whatsoever. Reilly Opelka has shown his Rome and Cincinnati Masters runs earlier this year were no mistake, the ‘servebot’ rolling his matches so far against dogged baseliners. Basilashvili could peak for a set but Opelka should get the win here. Opelka in 4

Damian: Opelka looks like a full-on dark horse at this point. Aside from serving incredibly well, he’s been really teeing off on some returns. If he gets enough of them deep at Basilashvili’s feet, he’ll have more chances to break than it seems. Opelka in 4 

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