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Nishikori vs Wawrinka ATP Madrid live streaming, preview and tips - Former Madrid finalists clash for quarter-final spot

Andrew Hendrie in ATP Tour 9 May 2019
  • Kei Nishikori vs Stan Wawrinka is live from Madrid around 3.00pm local time on Thursday (2.00pm BST)
  • Wawrinka leads their head-to-head 6-4 and has won their last two meetings
Kei Nishikori (PA Images)

It’s a battle of former Madrid Masters runner-ups on Thursday as sixth seed Kei Nishikori faces three-time major champion Stan Wawrinka in the Round of 16.

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A quarter-final spot is up for grabs as Kei Nishikori and Stan Wawrinka clash for the 11th time at the Madrid Masters on Thursday.

Madrid has arguably been Nishikori’s most successful Masters 1000 tournament throughout his career, with the Japanese making the final in 2014, where he was dominating Rafael Nadal in the final, leading by a set and a break before injury intervened and he was ultimately forced to retire down 3-0 in the deciding set. Nishikori would go on to make the semi-finals in the next two years and also made the quarter-finals in 2013 and 2017, while his last appearance at the tournament in 2018 resulted in his first opening round loss since his debut in 2011, but he was unseeded and unfortunate to draw Novak Djokovic. Nishikori returned to winning ways in Madrid on Wednesday, but he was dragged into an unexpected battle by Bolivian qualifier Hugo Dellien. Nishikori was up 5-1 in the opening set before Dellien staged a big fightback, saving seven set points and levelling for 5-5, but the Japanese managed to regroup to break and serve out the set at his eighth time of asking, while the second set followed a similar pattern, with Nishikori raising his level in the crucial moments to complete a 7-5 7-5 victory in over two hours.

After returning to action from a wrist injury on the Challenger circuit at the beginning of last year, Nishikori has been extremely consistent for the most part, rising back into the top 10 following a string of impressive results, including finishing runner-up at the Monte-Carlo Masters, making the quarter-finals in Rome, the fourth round of the French Open and reaching his maiden Wimbledon quarter-final, while he also advanced to his first Grand Slam semi-final since 2016 at the U.S. Open and finished runner-up in Vienna to qualifying for the season-ending Nitto ATP Finals.

Nishikori kicked off 2019 with a bang, winning his first ATP World Tour title in almost three years by beating Daniil Medvedev to capture the Brisbane International silverware, while he backed that run up by making the Australian Open quarter-finals, where he was forced to retire against Novak Djokovic due to fatigue and three five-setters in the earlier rounds. Nishikori returned to make the semi-finals of Rotterdam, but his level dropped after that as he lost four of his next six matches through Dubai, Indian Wells, Miami and Monte-Carlo, but he got back to winning ways in Barcelona as he made the semi-finals, losing in a quality three-setter to Medvedev. Can the 29-year-old return to the Madrid quarter-finals on Thursday?

Stan Wawrinka (PA Images)
Not if Stan Wawrinka has his way. The Swiss is also a former finalist at the Madrid Masters, defeating Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Tomas Berdych before going down to Nadal in 2013, but unlike Nishikori, Wawrinka hasn’t been able to consistently impress in the Spanish capital and has failed to make it past the Round of 16 in any of his other 11 main draw appearances. However, maybe that’s about to change this week - Wawrinka launched his campaign with a convincing straight sets win over Pierre-Hugues Herbert in the opening round and then dispatched the in-form Guido Pella (who has won more clay matches than anyone on tour in 2019) 6-3 6-4 in the second round on Wednesday.

After undergoing double knee surgery after Wimbledon in 2017 and taking the rest of the year off as a result, Wawrinka’s comeback in 2018 was a stop-start and stuttering affair. He initially returned at the Australian Open and went on to make the semi-finals of Sofia, but his knee was still giving him pain, so he decided to withdraw from Indian Wells and Miami among other tournaments to get ready for the clay season. Wawrinka still struggled to get going on the dirt, but some big wins in the first rounds of Wimbledon and the U.S. Open over Grigor Dimitrov, along with a semi-final run in St. Petersburg and a quarter-final in Cincinnati helped lay the foundation for what has already been a much better 2019.

While he’s still searching for that one big tournament and some scalps over the very best, Wawrinka has improved his ranking from a 2018 year-end mark of No. 66 to a current No. 34, compiling a 14-8 record that has included finishing runner-up at the ATP 500 Rotterdam tournament, where he beat Nishikori in the semi-finals, along with quarter-finals in Doha and Acapulco.

Wawrinka leads the head-to-head with Nishikori 6-4 and has won their last two meetings in Cincinnati last year and earlier this season in Rotterdam, while he also won their only clay clash all the way back in 2012. There’s no doubt Wawrinka has the advantage on clay, and with Nishikori not in the best of form at the moment, this is a great chance for the Swiss to make just a second quarter-final in Madrid. Wawrinka played within himself against Pella and was never troubled, and if he can produce a similar performance on Thursday, his weight of shot should gradually suffocate Nishikori and push him behind the baseline.

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Nishikori vs Wawrinka ATP Madrid live streaming, preview and tips - Former Madrid finalists clash for quarter-final spot

It’s a battle of former Madrid Masters runner-ups on Thursday as sixth seed Kei Nishikori faces three-time major champion Stan Wawrinka in the Round of 16.

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