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Thiem vs Nishikori ATP Vienna Preview, Predictions and Live Streaming: London hopefuls Thiem and Nishikori meet in crunch Vienna quarter final

Leye Aduloju in ATP Tour 25 Oct 2018
  • Dominic Thiem vs Kei Nishikori is live from Vienna on Friday, 26 October from 2:30pm local time/ 1:30pm BST
  • Nishikori leads 2-1 on head-to-head, but Thiem won their most recent meeting at Roland Garros
Dominic Thiem. (Photo by OLGA MALTSEVA/AFP/Getty Images)

Home favourite, Dominic Thiem looks to get into the semi-finals of the Erste Bank Open in Vienna for the first time when he takes on Kei Nishikori on Friday.

Thiem has struggled at his home tournament, making the quarter finals just once in his seven previous appearances, but he's matched his best ever run this year, following straight set victories over Ruben Bemelmans and Sam Querrey.

Friday's match against Nishikori also carries plenty of significance in the ATP's Race to London, with Thiem, currently eight in the race, looking to hold off a chasing pack that also includes Nishikori, who began the week in 10th position.

Should Thiem qualify for the Nitto ATP Finals, it would be his third straight year at the season-ending showpiece, while Nishikori is looking to return to London for the fourth time after missing out last year. The Japanese will move above John Isner into ninth position should he make the semi-finals.

Thiem's year has again been hinged on his exploits on clay. He made his first Grand Slam final at Roland Garros, a first Masters 1000 final in Madrid, won titles in Buenos Aires and Lyon, and made quarter finals in Rio, Monte Carlo, Barcelona and Hamburg.

The Austrian also had a couple of decent results on hard courts, reaching the quarter finals of the US Open- the farthest he's been at a Slam outside Roland Garros- while he picked up a title in St. Petersburg, his first on hard courts since he won Acapulco in February 2016.

Thiem was pushed hard by qualifier Bemelmans in the first round in Vienna, needing five set points to take the first set, before being dragged to a tie break in the second set, but the top seed eventually came through 7-5 7-6 in an hour and 47 minutes.

He had a more comfortable outing in the second round against Sam Querrey, breaking in the third game of each set in a 6-4 6-4 victory- his 50th win of the season. Thiem served at 49%, but he dropped just four points on his first serve, and won 61% of points on his second serve, saving all three break points he faced, all of them in the sixth game of the second set.

While that conversion rate was impressive, a 49% first serve percentage may not be good enough against Nishikori on Friday.

Competing in Vienna for the first time, Nishikori was pushed to three sets in his opening match by Next Gen Star, Frances Tiafoe, but he turned on the style in the second round against in-form Karen Khachanov, beating last week's Moscow champion 6-2 6-2 in just an hour and five minutes.

Kei Nishikori. (Photo by HANS PUNZ/AFP/Getty Images)
Nishikori conceded the first break point of the match, but he fended it off to hold for 2-2, after which it was one way traffic. The Japanese won four games in a row to take the first set, while he scored two more breaks in the second set before closing out a very fine victory on his second match point.

This time last year, Nishikori had shut down his season, and was recovering from wrist surgery, but he has been operating very close to top form in recent weeks, and he could yet secure a spot in London, and a top-ten finish, having dropped as low as 39th at the start of April.

Nishikori didn't start his year until late January, easing his way back into the sport on the Challenger Tour.  He lost the first match of his comeback against Denis Novikov at the Newport Beach Challenger, but responded by winning the title at the Dallas Challenger, coincidentally beating Novikov in the final.

Nishikori reached the semi-finals in his first ATP World Tour tournament of the season in New York, but it was on clay where he really found his feet, making the final in Monte Carlo, the quarter finals in Rome, and the fourth round at Roland Garros.

Nishikori played well at the Grand Slams, as he also made the quarter finals at Wimbledon, and the semi-finals at the US Open, losing to eventual champion, Novak Djokovic in  both tournaments, while his post US Open form includes a final in Tokyo, a semi-final in Mets and a quarter final in Shanghai.

The world number 11 leads Thiem 2-1 on head-to-head, with Thiem winning their most recent meeting at Roland Garros. The indoor hard court setting in Vienna gives Nishikori the advantage, as the Japanese, who is a two-time finalist in Basel, is the more accomplished player in these conditions.

Thiem is the more powerful player, especially on the forehand wing, but Nishikori's ability to take the ball flat and early off both wings could prove too good for the home favourite on Friday.

Dominic Thiem vs Kei Nishikori is live from Vienna on Friday, 26 October from 2:30pm local time/ 1:30pm BST

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

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Thiem vs Nishikori ATP Vienna Preview, Predictions and Live Streaming: London hopefuls Thiem and Nishikori meet in crunch Vienna quarter final

Dominic Thiem and Kei Nishikori meet in Vienna on Friday as both players look to strengthen their claims for a spot at the Nitto ATP Finals in London. Read our preview, predictions and stream the match live online.

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