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Anderson vs Nishikori tennis live streaming, preview and predictions – Nishikori tries to snap eight-match losing streak in finals in Vienna

Hannah Wilks in ATP Tour 27 Oct 2018
  • Kevin Anderson and Kei Nishikori face off in the final of the Erste Bank Open on Sunday
  • Anderson vs Nishikori is live from Vienna on Sunday at 2pm local/1pm GMT
Kei Nishikori (HANS PUNZ/AFP/Getty Images)

Kevin Anderson and Kei Nishikori are both desperate to enhance their chances of reaching the Nitto ATP Finals by lifting the Erste Bank Open trophy, but only one can triumph in Vienna.

Can Kei Nishikori boost his chances of qualifying for the Nitto ATP Finals by ending his eight-match losing streak in finals as he faces Kevin Anderson in the final of the Erste Bank Open in Vienna on Sunday?

Nishikori is currently in tenth place on the Race to London, but by making the final in Vienna he has already guaranteed that he will overtake the player in ninth place, John Isner, after the latter lost in the second round (and with del Potro struggling with a fractured kneecap, ninth place could well be good enough). 

Kei Nishikori (HANS PUNZ/AFP/Getty Images)
Should Nishikori win the title, he will trail the player in eighth and qualifying position, Dominic Thiem, by just 35 points heading into the final week of competition at the Rolex Paris Masters.

This late-season charge for qualification from Nishikori has been an impressive one indeed, considering that midway through 2018, it looked very unlikely that he would even come close – mainly thanks to the wrist injury which saw him shut his 2017 season down ahead of the US Open, and return at the end of January so uncertain of himself that he opted to play Challenger events instead of the Australian Open.

Nishikori won his second of those Challenger events and made a slightly surprising run to the final of the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters, but he still didn’t really start to look like his old self until after the grass-court season, even though his included a quarterfinal appearance at Wimbledon (never his best tournament). He had early exits at the Canada and Cincinnati Masters, but the US Open has been a happy hunting ground for him in the past and so it proved again this year, as he reached the semifinals before losing to Novak Djokovic. 

With a 45-18 win-loss record on the season as a whole, Nishikori is 17-4 since the start of the US Open, going on to make the semifinals in Metz, the quarterfinals of the Shanghai Masters and the finals of 500-level events in Tokyo and now Vienna, where he has been making his debut this week. Pushed hard for two sets by shotmaker Frances Tiafoe before finally pulling away down the stretch in the decider in the first round, Nishikori has ousted Karen Khachanov and Dominic Thiem – allowing the Austrian just three games in a spellbinding performance – in Vienna before ending the run of qualifier Mikhaeil Kukushkin in the semifinals with a solid, clinical 6-4, 6-3 victory.

Nishikori will now go for his sixth win of the season vs a top-10 opponent as he faces Kevin Anderson in the final – and attempt to snap an eight-match losing streak in ATP World Tour finals. If one doesn’t count winning the Dallas Challenger, Nishikori has lost his last eight title matches, a streak stretching all the way back to Memphis in February 2016 when he beat Taylor Fritz to win his eleventh career ATP World Tour title.

Kevin Anderson, meanwhile, is looking for his second title of the season as he prepares to face Kei Nishikori in the final in Vienna – and he also has extra inducement to excel: Currently in seventh place on the Race to London, he has already overtaken Marin Cilic in sixth place and will qualify for the season-ending championships if he lifts the Erste Bank Open title.

Kevin Anderson (HANS PUNZ/AFP/Getty Images)
Although 32-year-old Anderson has featured in 17 ATP World Tour finals, including, memorably, Grand Slam finals at the US Open in 2017 and Wimbledon this summer, he actually has a 4-13 record in those finals and has never won a title bigger than a 250, so triumph in Vienna would be a significant achievement for him.

This is already the fifth final of Anderson’s 2018 season after he won the 250 in New York in February, beating Nishikori in the semifinals, and finished runner-up in Pune (losing to Gilles Simon), Acapulco (losing to Juan Martin del Potro) and, of course, to Novak Djokovic at Wimbledon. With a  43-16 win-loss record in 2018, it has been a very consistent season for Anderson as his late-career bloom continues, with semifinal appearances in Madrid and Toronto to add to his haul of finals reached.

With so much tennis on one’s legs at this point in the season, quick wins are never a bad thing, but Anderson has taken it to a whole new level in Vienna: After a hard-fought win over the extremely in-form Beijing champion Nikoloz Basilashvili in the first round, he benefited from a retirement from Borna Coric and then a walkover from local veteran Jurgen Melzer to make the semifinals.

But he did have to work very hard for the win over Basilashvili, and against Fernando Verdasco in the semifinals he got an excellent workout, finally triumphing over the Spanish left-hander 6-3, 3-6, 6-4.

Nishikori has a good record against Anderson, leading the head-to-head 5-2, although Anderson did win their last match which was also on indoor hard courts in New York in February. Nishikori was still newly back from his injury absence and quite shaky at that point, but his record in finals is becoming a concern: Not only has he lost eight in a row, but in those eight finals, he’s only actually won one set. Admittedly four of those finals have come against Nadal and Djokovic – but four of them haven’t, including Nishikori’s 2-6, 4-6 defeat to Medvedev in the Tokyo final a few weeks ago. With a place in London tantalizingly close for both Anderson and Nishikori, who can seize the opportunity and lift the trophy in Vienna?

Anderson vs Nishikori Erste Open 500 final tennis is live from Vienna on Sunday at 2pm local/1pm GMT 

*Geo-restrictions apply; funded account required or to have placed a bet in the last 24 hours to qualify

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Anderson vs Nishikori tennis live streaming, preview and predictions – Nishikori tries to snap eight-match losing streak in finals in Vienna

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