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Nishikori vs Medvedev tennis live streaming, preview and predictions – Can Nishikori snap nine-match losing streak in ATP finals?

Hannah Wilks in ATP Tour 5 Jan 2019
  • Kei Nishikori faces Daniil Medvedev in the final of the Brisbane International on Sunday
  • Nishikori vs Medvedev is live from Brisbane at 7pm local/9am GMT
Kei Nishikori (SAEED KHAN/AFP/Getty Images)

Can Kei Nishikori avenge his Tokyo defeat to Daniil Medvedev, or will the rising Russian claim his latest scalp – and title – at the Brisbane International?

World no. 9 Kei Nishikori attempts to snap a nine-match losing streak in ATP Tour finals as he takes on Daniil Medvedev in the Brisbane International final on Sunday.

Nishikori’s last ATP Tour title came in Memphis in 2016, and since then he has lost all nine finals he has played at ATP Tour level, although he did win a Challenger in 2018. That record includes defeats to Marin Cilic, Aleksandr Dolgopolov and, in 2018, Rafael Nadal at the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters, Kevin Anderson in Vienna and Medvedev himself at the Rakuten Japan Open in Tokyo in front of Nishikori’s home crowd.

As a result, Nishikori’s overall record in finals has dropped to 11-14 – Medvedev, in contrast, is 3-1 and won all three he played in 2018.

‘It means a lot if you win a trophy,’ Nishikori said. ‘I'm not worried too much, because even though I didn't win a tournament, I was in the top 10 last year. But I mean, it always feels good to win a tournament. I am trying to win every final, of course, and hope I can get it sometime.’

Runner-up in Brisbane in 2017, Nishikori is correct to point out that he did have a good season last year, especially considering that it started with him missing the Australian Open and dropping down to Challenger level to ease his transition back to competition after being out for the previous six months with a wrist injury. His ranking dropped outside the top 30 at one point in 2018 but nevertheless by season’s end he was back inside the top 10 at world no. 9 and had made the second week at all of the majors he played in, reaching the round of 16 at the French Open, the quarterfinals at Wimbledon and the semifinals at the US Open.

The 29-year-old Nishikori has looked very, very good this week in straight-sets wins over Denis Kudla, sixth seed Grigor Dimitrov and Jeremy Chardy, barely giving the big-hitting Chardy room to breathe in a 6-2, 6-2 semifinal trouncing. Chardy made a lot of unforced errors, but a lot of them resulted from the crushing pressure Nishikori was exerting, and the Japanese player was right to congratulate himself on an extremely solid victory.

‘Today's match was almost perfect, I would say. My serve and return were phenomenal today,’ Nishikori said. 

‘I think he was missing a little bit more than his past couple matches. That's for sure. But I played very solid today. Everything was good.’

Daniil Medvedev (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)
Medvedev, too, produced an impressive semifinal performance, coming back from 0-3 down and recovering from a mini-break down in the first-set tie-break to defeat Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 7-6(6), 6-2.

Substantially the youngest man to make an ATP final this week, 22-year-old Medvedev staked a bold claim for himself as one of the best of the younger generation last year with a stellar season that saw him win a trio of titles, starting at the Apia International Sydney when the Russian, ranked world no. 84, qualified for the main draw and then went all the way to the title. Medvedev went on to win another 250 in Winston-Salem and the 500-level Tokyo title, beating Denis Shapovalov, Milos Raonic and Nishikori. By the end of the year he had broken into the top 20 after reaching the semifinals of the Swiss Indoors Basel and comes into Brisbane ranked world no. 16.

Each of Medvedev’s match wins at the Brisbane International has been over an opponent who has reached at least a Grand Slam final, starting by easily ousting Andy Murray (admittedly a shadow of his former self) in the first round, followed by a patient, smart three-set win over Milos Raonic and the aforementioned victory over Tsonga. The fourth seed’s skinny frame belies the amount of power he can generate and he had no problem going toe-to-toe with Tsonga.

Nishikori will justifiably be wary of the youngster. He beat Medvedev in straight sets on clay at the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters in 2018, but Medvedev handled him quite easily on hard courts in Tokyo for a 6-2, 6-4 victory. My memory of that match is that Nishikori was a bit shellshocked and went away quite easily, however, and one would hope that he is better prepared for the challenge that awaits him this time. His blend of athleticism, consistency and shot-making is a tricky one for anyone to deal with and if he has a very good serving day, he might just end Medvedev’s winning streak in ATP finals – and cap his own losing one at nine.

Nishikori vs Medvedev tennis is live from Brisbane on Sunday at 7pm local/9am GMT

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Nishikori vs Medvedev tennis live streaming, preview and predictions – Can Nishikori snap nine-match losing streak in ATP finals?

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